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Health Crisis Deepens in Kenya as Medical Professionals Continue Strike Over Unmet Demands

Apr 16, 2024 #News
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The healthcare system in Kenya remains in turmoil as medical professionals across the public sector continue their strike, now extending beyond a month. The strike, which began with doctors and later saw the inclusion of pharmacists, dentists, clinical officers, and laboratory technicians, stems from the government’s failure to honor the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Dr. Moses Mwangi, a respected medic from Murang’a, has voiced concerns over the dire situation. “The government’s failure to honor the 2017 CBA is deeply concerning. It undermines the trust between healthcare professionals and the government and jeopardizes the quality of healthcare services available to Kenyans,” Dr. Mwangi stated.

One of the major issues highlighted in the CBA is the posting of interns who have completed medical school. These interns require a one-year post-qualification internship to become certified registered practitioners. Despite this requirement, the government has yet to post these interns, further exacerbating the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country.

Additionally, the government’s offer of a reduced stipend of Ksh 70,000 for interns, compared to the previous amount of Ksh 206,000, has been met with outrage and deemed insulting by medical professionals. The disparity in stipends not only demotivates new healthcare professionals but also poses challenges in attracting and retaining talent in the public health sector.

The ongoing strike has had devastating consequences for many Kenyans, with reports of preventable deaths due to the lack of medical care in public hospitals. Families are left mourning the loss of loved ones, and the government is facing increasing pressure to act swiftly and resolve the crisis.

Dr. Mwangi questioned the government’s inaction, stating, “I don’t know whether the Government is waiting for the doctors to be on strike for 100 days to initiate dialogue. The situation in public hospitals is dire, and the government must be held accountable for the innocent lives lost during the strike.”

The role of the CS for health, Susan Nakhumicha, has also come under scrutiny. Her silence during this crisis has raised questions about her commitment to addressing the health needs of Kenyans. Calls for her to step down and make way for a more competent and dedicated individual have grown louder.

In conclusion, the health crisis in Kenya is a matter of life and death, requiring immediate attention and action from the government. Medical professionals are urging the government to honor the 2017 CBA, engage in meaningful dialogue, and prioritize the well-being of Kenyans. Failure to do so will only deepen the crisis and further erode trust in the healthcare system.

As the strike continues, Kenyans are left hoping for a swift resolution that will restore stability and improve healthcare services across the country.

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