The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) issued a 21-day strike notice due to “longstanding unresolved issues,” as the number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the East African nation accelerate.
Four doctors died last Friday alone, although it is unclear if they had contact with coronavirus patients.
The doctors accuse the government of exposing them to Covid-19. Their issues include provision of standard and adequate personal protection equipment, comprehensive medical insurance cover and workman’s compensation.
“The loss of 30 health care workers, of which 10 are senior specialist doctors, is a great loss to the country in the war against Covid-19,” KMPDU said in a statement.
The union’s acting secretary general, Mwachonda Chibanzi, said that they would not call off the planned strike until all their demands were met, adding that: “We will be available for any engagement within those three weeks, failure to which we will have no choice but to rally our members for our nationwide strike.”
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said that a meeting would be held on Monday to discuss the rise of Covid-19 infections in the country and among healthcare workers.
Kenya suspended political rallies for 60 days from Nov. 4 as part of measures to curb the spread of the pandemic after a surge in cases followed an easing of restrictions in September.
-County headquarters closed-
Relatedly, the Governor of the central Kirinyaga county on Monday ordered a two-week closure of county headquarters following a spike in COVID-19 infections at the premises.
Through a notice, Governor Ann Waiguru ordered all staff to work from home effective November 16.
“The rate at which the infections have been spreading recently, especially at the county headquarters amongst county officers, despite institution of infection and control measures have raised serious concerns to the executive,” she noted.
“Despite efforts to keep the offices running and staff continuing to physically interact while strictly observing MOH COVID-19 guidelines, these have not borne the desired results, if anything, cases appear to be increasing by day at the headquarters,” Waiguru added.
The East African nation has 70,245 confirmed infections and 1,269 deaths as of Sunday, according to the health ministry.