Kenya: Doctors end 100-day strike after deal with government
Doctors in Kenya have called off a strike that lasted 100 days after reaching a deal with the government on Tuesday.
More than 5,000 health professionals from public hospitals refused to return to work until issues surrounding their pay, working hours and other factors were addressed. it’s not yet clear how many of the doctors’ demands were met in the agreement.
Return to work formula
The agreement sees doctors adopt a return to work formula that brings Kenya’s public hospital system back up to speed. As part of the deal, no doctors will face disciplinary action for participating in the strike, which contrasts the recent sacking of health workers in large numbers for failing to turn up to work and being involved in a strike deemed illegal by the government.
Dozens of patients died during the strike due to a lack of medical care and the government is facing huge criticism over its dealing with the issue. A previous agreement had been signed in 2013 to increase the wages of doctors but the government failed to deliver.
Public sentiment is low amid allegations that tens of millions of dollars went missing from Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the National Youth Service. One the government’s main arguments against increasing doctor’s wages has been a supposed lack of funds.
Still work to be done
Union Secretary General Ouma Oluga says he’s relieved that an agreement has been signed, but insists there’s still work to be done regarding its implementation.
“We are happy that the doctors union have finally put an end the strike,” he said. “While the strike is over, the dispute may not be, because we need to restore industrial harmony between ourselves and our employers. … We know that the return-to-work agreement is simply an agreement and there is a lot of follow-up [work] that will be done.”
As of Wednesday, services will resume in more than 2,000 public hospitals as parties from both sides continue to negotiate on the remaining issues under the agreement.
Featured image: By Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes – https://www.dvidshub.net/image/521833, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39632388