World Bulletin / News Desk
Doctors at private hospitals said Tuesday that they would go on a 48-hour strike beginning at midnight if jailed colleagues from the public sector are not freed.
A Nairobi court on Monday sentenced seven leaders of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) each to serve month-long jail sentences after they called an illegal nationwide doctors strike that has lasted for 75 days.
An earlier court ruling had admonished doctors to continue to negotiate while working but the KMPDU decided to strike.
The Kenya Medical Association(KMA), the country’s largest medical body, that mostly represents doctors working in private hospitals, vowed to walk off the job in solidarity with their counterparts from the public sector, citing an attack on their profession.
“All our members in health facilities and in institutions shall not be offering any services for the next 48 hours’ effective midnight on Tuesday and further instructions shall be issued should the doctors still be in jail at the expiry of this period,” KMA chair Jaqueline Kitulu told reporters as she emphasized that negotiations would not take place while doctors are in jail.
The job action threatens the much needed medical relief that was being offered nationwide by those facilities after their counterparts in the public sector went on strike more than two months ago. Although expensive, Kenyans sought treatment from private hospitals in hopes the government and doctors would soon reach an agreement.
The KMA is also demanding President Uhuru Kenyatta sack Health Minister Cleopa Mailu and Permanent Secretary Nicholas Muraguri for failing to resolve the health crisis.
Mailu told reporters Tuesday his office regrets the court’s decision to jail doctors and the government would like the physicians to be released to finalize talks that would put an end to the nationwide strike.
Doctors are demanding a 300 percent pay rise under a 2013 collective bargaining agreement that would raise the salary of the lowest-paid doctors to around $3,300 per month.Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2017, 07:06