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Bungoma doctors issue strike notice

KMPDU Western branch officials and Bungoma doctors address the press at a hotel in Bungoma on Saturday, January 12, 2019. /BRIAN OJAMAA
KMPDU Western branch officials and Bungoma doctors address the press at a hotel in Bungoma on Saturday, January 12, 2019. /BRIAN OJAMAA

Doctors in Bungoma will strike in 21 days if an agreement signed last year is not honoured.

The medics, from the private and public sectors, said on Saturday they are demoralised for lack of promotions, staff shortage and a poor work environment.

They addressed a press conference during the first 2019 Bungoma doctors’ assembly under KMPDU Western branch at a hotel in Kanduyi, Bungoma town.

Branch chairman Anthony Akoto said no meeting has been held since the collective bargaining agreement was signed.

He said the health sector is in a sorry state countrywide and needs to be evaluated.

Akoto said medics are continuously victimised and attacked physically and socially, hence creating a state of insecurity and panic.

He called for a dedicated and responsive leadership in the county’s health department to resolve the challenges and ensure prompt services.

“We wish to state that as doctors we strongly support universal health coverage and efforts towards actualising this dream to the benefit of the clients we serve,” Akoto said.

In December 2016, doctors went on a 100-day strike countrywide demanding a 300 per cent pay hike, better working conditions and hiring of more staff, among other issues.

They were offered increased allowances ranging from 105 and 165 per cent. Doctors, dental specialists and pharmacists also got a new risk allowance of Sh20,000 per month.

The allowances were to be effective from January 1, 2017.

On Saturday, KMPDU Western branch treasurer Bernard Wambulwa urged Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s administration to do more to improve healthcare.

“We urge our governor to stop neglecting doctors and healthcare workers and purpose to meet us and resolve these pending issues,” he said.

Wambulwa described as sideshows the ongoing efforts to reduce private doctors’ fees. He said only a small percentage seek their services.

“[We are] urging the government to focus on strengthening the public healthcare system, where over 90 per cent of Kenyans seek services, and stop the sideshows,” he said.

Wambulwa said the doctors strongly support the formation of a health service commission so the sector’s human resource element can be dealt with once and for all.

It is saddening that the county, which has the third largest population, has only one gynaecologist, he said. The doctors supported calls for a referendum on the Constitution if it will help streamline pressing issues in health sector.