Strike paralyses public hospitals

February 17, 2017

Doctors in public health facilities in Kenya went on strike on December 5 setting off one of the longest and messiest industrial disputes by health workers in the country.

We’ve asked Moses Masika to analyse the impasse that’s paralysed public hospitals countrywide.

What is the cause of the stalemate? How can the standoff be resolved?

Today marks 65 days of a stand-off between the government and doctors that’s deprived many Kenyans of the inalienable right to quality health care and exposed many to extreme physical injuries and financial strain.

When doctors in Kenya began the strike, they spelt out their demands clearly: they wanted a collective bargaining agreement signed in June 2013 to be implemented.

The government has chosen the wrong approach to end the strike. It’s attempted to coerce doctors to resume work by withholding salaries, issuing sacking letters and threatening to import foreign doctors from countries such as Cuba and India.

Union leaders have also been issued with jail sentences for contempt of court.

These coercive machinations are intended to force doctors back to work.

Instead they have strengthened their resolve. After so much sacrifice they feel there’s nothing more to lose.

Their resolve has been strengthened by the fact that the government has refused to make any concessions, sticking to the same deal that the doctors’ union turned down in the first week of the strike.