Source: Daily Nation
By WALTER MENYA Sunday, December 4 2011
A national healthcare crisis looms as doctors across the country begin their planned strike on Monday after negotiations with the government stalled.
In the government versus doctors’ contest, patients will receive the worst of the bargain as the strike is likely to paralyse services in all public hospitals.
About 2,300 doctors in public hospitals issued a strike notice on November 19 demanding a 300 per cent salary increase and hardship allowances.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) told Nation on Sunday that there would be no relenting in their quest to have their demands met.
“As of today we have not heard of any new developments. It means the planned strike by doctors will start tomorrow (Monday) as planned,” KMPDU Secretary General Dr Boniface Chitayi said.
By the time of going to press Sunday evening, union officials and those from Treasury and the ministries of Public Health and Medical Services, were in a meeting trying to resolve the stalemate.
Dr Chitayi said the ball was in the government’s court to contain the misery of patients who need services.
“The question now is how soon it will end but that depends on the willingness of the government to talk to us,” the union boss added.Hospital managers and the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) on Sunday joined the government in appealing for dialogue to break the impasse.
Bishop Philip Sulumeti who chairs the Catholic Health Commission, an organ of KEC, asked doctors to continue offering services as negotiations with government continue.
Acting director of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret Dr John Kibosia said that activities at the hospital could be paralysed in case the doctors make good their threat to boycott work.
Give dialogue a chance
“We are asking the doctors to stop the industrial action and give dialogue a chance as the government has shown commitment to resolve the issue amicably,” Dr Kibosia said.
However, Dr Chitayi regretted that such sentiments would not solve the problems facing the health sector.
He also stated that the union was willing to sit down with the government to negotiate a deal.