Doctors in public hospitals in at least four counties in Kenya went on strike on Friday over delayed salaries and a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
In Nairobi County, where more than 300 doctors are also on strike, union officials said they do not have medical insurance, lacked standard quality gear and that they are yet to receive their July salaries.
At least 838 health workers in Kenya have contracted COVID-19 out of whom 16 have died, according to the Kenyan Health ministry data.
Outside the Mbagathi County Hospital in Nairobi, stranded patients waited for word on when they would finally get to see a doctor.
A strike that began Friday morning had left them with little option but to go home and wait. The strike follows a collapse of talks between the doctors and their employers on Thursday.
“Some people have died, patients are dying of COVID-19 because some people decided to squander 43 billion Kenyan [shillings] and that is a shame,” says the Chairperson of the Doctors’ Union, Dr Deogratius Mayero.
They say they have inadequate gear that in most cases exposed them to COVID-19 infections.
Civil society demand end to corruption
On Friday, civil society activists also held protests in Nairobi. They were demanding the arrest of those implicated in corrupt dealings during the procurement of PPEs.
“It’s not that we don’t have the money, we have the money to give them but they are stealing that money and this is a statement that needs to be said firmly that we as Kenyans as much as we stand with our doctors we also are concerned about our own lives,” said Human Rights activist, Wanjeri Nderu.
County officials have appealed to doctors to return to the negotiation table. Latest data show 31 441 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Kenya, 620 deaths and just over 13 500 recoveries out of 407 610 tests done so far.
Nairobi is the epicentre of the infections.
Anger, disappointment at Kenyan government’s handling of coronavirus:
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