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Doctors' Strike Starts Countrywide

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Doctors working in all government hospitals have made good their strike threat and downed their tools. The strike has now affected provision of medical services in the hospitals. This happened even as the Medical Services Minister Prof. Anyang Nyongo said the strike by doctors was illegal. Speaking this morning, the Minister said the demands by registrar doctors at KNH are against the law. The doctors' union Kenya Medical Practioners and Dentists Union, KMPDU had threatened to call a countrywide strike last week over the grievances raised by the registrar doctors. The strike had only affected KNH, Mathare Hospital and Moi Refferral Hospital, Eldoret and KMPDU had warned that if no action was taken to address the strike, it would call a nationwide strike starting today. But Nyongo said that the doctors' strike was unjustified since the demands highlighted in the return-to-work formula signed between the doctors' unions and the government last year have been met. Nyongo however said that his Ministry and the government are ready to hold negotiations with the doctors to find the way forward to issues raised. The Minister said that doctors were not justified to go on strike because their counterparts -- registrar doctors downed their tools. Nyongo said that the demands put across by registrar doctors concerning their education cannot be met since it amounts to disobeying the law. Nyongo explained that the registrar doctors are privately sponsored students and doctors cannot take up the responsibility of paying their training fees. The Minister urged all government doctors to respect the 2011 return-to-work formula and call off the strike since the strike amounts to economic sabotage. Nyong'o was speaking at a Nairobi Hotel after officially opening the third Kenya Palliative Care Conference. The strike has also been supported by Kenya Medical Association which urged the government last week to address the plight of the doctors to avert the strike.
Posted September 13, 2012
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