Kenyan healthcare workers say they will embark on strike action from next week Monday if the government does not address their grievances, which they say are key in stemming the deaths of frontline healthcare personnel as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, 30 healthcare workers including ten specialists have died in the East African nation since Kenya declared its first positive case of COVID-19 in March.
Kenyan healthcare workers are demanding better working conditions, which include the provision of sufficient and quality Personal Protective Equipment, enhanced risk allowances, and a comprehensive medical cover for all.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Chairperson, Dr Samuel Oroko says, “All healthcare workers are well mobilised, and the hospitals shall remain closed from the 7th of December 2020.”
Their demands come as Kenya continues to witness rising COVID-19 infections. Statistics from the country’s health ministry indicate that at least 2 700 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary, Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda says, “This will not be a suicide mission, and we will say this, this is the last week…”
Frustrated healthcare workers say they will take nothing short of the full implementation of their demands.
Mwachonda says, “We have engaged over the last two weeks but what has been put on the table does not address comprehensively.”
Kenya has 83 316 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, with a positivity rate of 9% over the last two weeks.