Naivasha based private hospitals doctors yesterday declined to close their facilities as called for by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) in solidarity with the jailed medical union officials later acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
KMA had on Tuesday called on the doctors to join in the strike to push for the release of seven Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KPMDU) officials jailed on Monday for contempt of court. They included secretary general Ouma Oluga, Chairman Samuel Oroko, treasurer Daisy Korir, deputy treasurer Evelyne Chege, and other officials, Allan Ochanji, Mwachonda Chibandzi and Titus Ondoro.
The officer in charge of Polyclinic nursing home, one of the largest private hospitals in Naivasha, Dr Wycliffe Ogega said operations were going on normally with all doctors and clinical officers attending patients as usual.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday released seven imprisoned doctors’ union officials and ordered them back to the negotiating table.
The officials had been given one-month sentence for contempt of court in connection to the two-months long strike by Kenya’s public hospitals over unfulfilled Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) entered with the government in 2013 that is agitating for a salary increase by 300 per cent and conditions in public hospitals to be improved .
After their jailing, Kenya’s Medical Association, which is separate from the public-sector union, urged all health professionals to withdraw their services to protest the ruling.
Separately, at the government owned Naivasha-sub-county hospital, the number of patients seeking services has dropped by over 50 percent as a majority of patients are forced to seek medication in private hospitals around the town due to the ongoing doctors’ strike.
All the 24 doctors and nine interns in the general referral hospital have been on strike for the third month running according to the hospital superintendent Dr Joseph Mburu.
Dr. Mburu told KNA the hospital was now relying on clinical officers to attend to patients in the wards adding that previously, they attended about 300 patients but since the strike began the numbers had dropped significantly.
“We have over 100 nurses and clinical officers who are attending to our patients whose number has dropped by over fifty percent since the strike began,” he said.
Doctor Mburu however confirmed that they were not offering some crucial health services such as surgery due to the strike and had to refer patients to private facilities.