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Doctors in Nakuru issue 21-day strike notice over healthcare crisis

Doctors in Nakuru County have issued a 21-day strike notice due to what they say, a multitude of issues that they argue have significantly tampered with their ability to provide effective healthcare services to the community.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General, Dr Davji Atellah, in a statement, cited the dire state of healthcare provision in the region as the primary reason for the impending strike.

“In Nakuru’s hospitals, doctors are grappling with a deplorable state of healthcare provision. They find themselves bereft of the necessary resources crucial for saving lives – there are severe shortages of drugs, medical equipment, and a chronic deficit of lab reagents and essential medical supplies. Every day, memos circulate highlighting these shortages, painting a bleak picture of our healthcare system,” Dr Atellah said.

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Dr Atellah also criticized Governor Susan Kihika’s administration for failing to fulfill its campaign promises in the healthcare sector.

He accused the county government of subjecting doctors employed by the devolved unit to unwarranted pay cuts, abrupt dismissals, and delayed promotions.

“During political campaigns, the Nakuru County government promised improved terms and support for our healthcare professionals. Regrettably, these promises remain unfulfilled,” he said.

“Instead, doctors have experienced a staggering 30 per cent reduction in their salaries, and some have been unjustly dismissed. It’s a grave injustice, and we firmly believe that our political leaders must be held accountable for the commitments they made to the people. It’s time for action, not words.”

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“In addition to these challenges, our dedicated consultants are trapped in despair and hopelessness, with no prospect of promotions in sight. This demoralizing situation leaves them feeling undervalued and underappreciated,” he added.

Dr Atellah unequivocally stated that if the county government does not promptly address these pressing issues, doctors across all county facilities will embark on a strike starting from September 23, 2023.

“We are united in our demand for immediate action. We insist on doctors’ promotions without further delay, an end to outdated and inadequate employment contracts, and a concerted effort to combat the severe unemployment crisis within the county,” he said.

“Healthcare is not a matter of political rhetoric; it is a matter of life and death for our residents. We refuse to accept empty promises any longer. Consequently, doctors have issued a 21-day strike notice to Nakuru County, set to commence on the 23rd of September 2023.”

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