LifestyleKenyan doctors stop attending emergencies in public hospitals in their second week...

Kenyan doctors stop attending emergencies in public hospitals in their second week of strike

Doctors in Kenya stopped providing emergency services at public hospitals on Thursday, an escalation of a national strike that was entering its second week.

Thousands of doctors have been kept away from hospitals since last Thursday due to low salaries and poor working conditions, despite a court order ordering negotiations between doctors and the Ministry of Health.

Dr Davji Bhimji, general secretary of the Union of Doctors, Pharmacists and Dentists, said doctors have raised the level of strikes and stopped providing minimum services because the government has shown no will to resolve the dispute.

“In the morning we managed to close the emergency services offered at the Kenyatta national referral hospital,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Health Minister Susan Nakhumicha told local television station KTN on Wednesday that she had instructed two major referral hospitals to hire doctors to replace those taking part in the national strike.

“We will not allow a crisis to occur… We cannot afford to have a vacuum,” he said, in a reference to doctors hired as temporary replacements set to begin work Wednesday night.

An Associated Press journalist confirmed Thursday morning that emergency services at Kenyatta Hospital in the capital, Nairobi, had resumed.

The ministry had planned to send letters on Thursday to 1,000 trainee doctors who would be deployed in various hospitals across the country.

Striking doctors accuse the government of failing to implement a series of promises, such as a collective bargaining agreement signed in 2017 after a 100-day strike in which deaths occurred due to lack of medical care.

A meeting was also scheduled for Thursday between the union, ministry staff and parliamentary representatives to resolve the blockade, which left thousands of Kenyans without much-needed public health services.

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