Kenya's public doctors to end 100-day strike that saw deaths


Thousands of doctors at Kenya's public hospitals have agreed to end a 100-day strike that saw people dying from lack of care, an official with the doctors' union said Tuesday.

The strike was blamed for dozens of deaths, as the majority of Kenyans cannot afford private health care. Deputy Minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo said during a TV interview that 24 of his constituents had died due to lack of care during the period.

The government and union officials signed a deal to address pay and other issues in dispute, said Dr. Ouma Oluga, the secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union.

Doctors will resume work Friday even though the agreement says they should resume immediately, he said.

"It is regrettable that it took so long. Kenyans have suffered ... we cannot fathom the extent of pain which Kenyans felt in the 100 days," said Kenya's health minister, Cleopa Mailu.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week threatened to fire the 5,000 doctors if they didn't return to work, but doctors defied him. Earlier, seven union officials were jailed for a month for contempt of court for not ending the strike.

Oluga said the biggest achievement in the agreement is that doctors now will work just 40 hours a week and will be compensated for extra hours. Previously, doctors in public hospitals were on call at all times.

"It's a win-win for everybody," Oluga said.

Doctors had pushed for the implementation of a 2013 collective bargaining agreement that committed the government to increase pay, restore dilapidated public health facilities and consistently train doctors, among other issues. It also set out measures to address the East African country's huge shortage of doctors.

The government has said it does not recognize the 2013 collective bargaining agreement

Now the labor court will oversee the implementation of the agreement in 60 days, Oluga said.

Kenya's public doctors, who train for six years at universities, earn a basic salary of $400-$850. That's similar to some policemen who train for just six months. Doctors now are expected to get an increase of $700 to $1,000 based on their seniority, Oluga said.

Kenya's doctors also went on strike in 2012 to protest the bad state of public health care. Emergency rooms in some public hospitals frequently don't have gloves or medicine, and power outages sometimes force doctors to use their cellphones to provide adequate light for a surgical procedure.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Homeowner creates amazing Halloween light show, synced with ‘Feel It Still’
Homeowner creates amazing Halloween light show, synced with ‘Feel It Still’

For seven years, Brandon Bullis has combined light and music for an amazing Halloween display and this year is no exception. >> Read more trending news Bullis uses 16,000 lights and computer animation to create “Edwards Landing Lights” almost every night for the Halloween season. This year the show features “Feel It Still&rdquo...
Kevin Smith pledges to give proceeds to ‘Women in Film’
Kevin Smith pledges to give proceeds to ‘Women in Film’

Kevin Smith, who is known for his films “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma,” has pledged to donate any future money made on his films that were produced and distributed by Miramax to ‘Women in Film,’ Fox News reported. Smith made the declaration after fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and allegations...
Must-see: High school dance team's 'Wizard of Oz' homecoming routine goes viral
Must-see: High school dance team's 'Wizard of Oz' homecoming routine goes viral

There's no place like homecoming at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona. According to the Arizona Republic, the school's Performing Arts Crew dance team, aka PAC, recently took the school gymnasium – and the internet – by storm with a "Wizard of Oz"-themed shimmy down the yellow brick road. >> Read more trending...
Off-duty Uber driver kidnapped woman, touched her inappropriately, police say
Off-duty Uber driver kidnapped woman, touched her inappropriately, police say

An off-duty Uber driver is accused of kidnapping a passenger in Pennsylvania. The woman was standing at Seventh and Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday night, waiting for an Uber she had requested. A car pulled up with an Uber sticker on it so she got in, but not with the driver she was expecting. Police in West View say Soumana...
'Free heroin' sign at Speedway gas station stirs controversy
'Free heroin' sign at Speedway gas station stirs controversy

UPDATE, 5:15 p.m. ET Tuesday: A customer rearranged the letters on the sign outside a Dayton, Ohio, Speedway gas station to say "Free heroin w/ Speedy Rewards,” a company spokeswoman said. “After approximately 15 minutes, we became aware of the message and removed it immediately,” Speedway communications manager Stefanie...
More Stories