LEADER

Medics' strikes are hurting Kenyans

Strikes must always be the last option to ensure minimal disruption in healthcare provision.

In Summary

• Doctors in Nairobi are on strike, while nurses and clinical officers have issued notices in several counties despite the fact that the country is battling Covid-19.

• Already, health facilities are overstretched and the country needs every medic.

Doctors protest outside the Nairobi county offices yesterday, demanding to be paid seven months’ salary arrears
Doctors protest outside the Nairobi county offices yesterday, demanding to be paid seven months’ salary arrears
Image: JACK OWUOR

The Constitution gives every worker except those in disciplined forces, the right to join a union and the freedom to strike. 

Before 2010, strikes by health workers were rare and clearly justified. Today, however, medics respond to any labour dispute with a strike notice.

Just before the 2017 election, doctors went on a 100-day strike, while nurses followed with another that went on for150 days. 

Doctors in Nairobi are on strike, while nurses and clinical officers have issued notices in several counties despite the fact that the country is battling Covid-19.

Already, health facilities are overstretched and the country needs every medic.

While health workers have the right to go on strike because they also have needs and desire good remuneration, unnecessary go slows violate people’s right to healthcare.

Strikes must always be the last option to ensure minimal disruption in healthcare provision. Health workers must not be strangers to this principle.

Devolution is not perfect and thousands of workers in other equally important sectors are enduring the process to improve an imperfect system.

And on its part, the government should also appreciate the important role medics play and honour any pledge they give to arrest the recurring strikes over the same issue.