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Economy

Doctors union now gunning for referendum

Health workers from Uasin Gishu County demonstrate in Eldoret town after a countrywide strike started on Tuesday. Photo/JARED NATAYA
Health workers from Uasin Gishu County demonstrate in Eldoret town after a countrywide strike started on Tuesday. Photo/JARED NATAYA 

Health workers will from next week start collecting a million signatures to push for a referendum that will lead to the establishment of a health commission.

Kenya Medical Practitioners  Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary general Sultani Matendechere says the formation of a Health Service Commission would champion the interests of health workers.

“We have just realised that lack of a credible commission to address adversaries that face health workers has been the cause of all these strikes over the years,” said Mr Matendechere.

This comes even as the strike that started early this week is expected to continue given that KMPDU has not reached a compromise with both the government and the council of governors.

On Thursday, the union met with the House Committee on Healthy after holding a session with the council of governors.

Even though health services have been devolved, practitioners want the role of paying salaries to be met by the national government. 

Mr Matendechere accused the government of intimidating the striking workers instead of addressing the plight of patients who have been dying in hospitals for lack of care.

“The deaths being witnessed at the health facilities should awaken the government that the situation is bad and they have to move with speed in resolving the mess,” he said. At least four deaths have been reported.   

Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago has ordered the striking medics to resume work or be sacked by his government.

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