The Labour court has ordered doctors in Nyeri to end a strike that has crippled health services in the county for two weeks now.
Justice Byram Ongaya of the Employment and Labour Relations court told the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) officials to ensure that doctors resume work by 9am Friday.
“The union’s national secretary-general Dr Ouma Oluga and the Central Region Branch officials Dr Gor Goody and Dr Wairimu Mwaniki are responsible for the compliance of the court order,” said Justice Ongaya.
The county government, through lawyer Patrick Ngunjiri, told the court that despite directing doctors to resume duty on Tuesday, they had deliberately refused and many patients were suffering.
According to Mr Ngunjiri, the county was in the process of handling the doctors’ grievances. “The council of governors is also coming up with a strategic plan on how doctors’ issues can be handled in counties,” said Mr Ngunjiri.
The county government also sought an order to compel the union’s national and central region officials to explain why the doctors had not complied with court rulings.
Mr Ngunjiri said that as a result of the strike, patients at Nyeri’s largest health facilities; Nyeri County Referral Hospital and Karatina Level Four Hospital, were suffering for lack of specialised health services.
However, the doctors defended themselves in court saying that they were served with court order on Wednesday evening.
Lawyer M.K Kiminda, for the doctors, said they needed time to file a response.
The doctors have paralysed health services in the county for two weeks now and patients are forced to seek medical services in private hospitals and the neighbouring Kirinyaga county. Already, three patients have died while several others were transferred to private hospitals.
The doctors went on strike citing the county government’s failure to address their grievances which include not approving them for postgraduate studies and crippling shortage of medics.
They doctors also aid that they were not offered specialised training opportunities and lack promotion. They also claimed that they had been forced to work and live in deplorable conditions.
Speaking to the Business Daily Dr Goody, the KMPDU central region branch secretary, said the county government should meet their grievances without delay.
“We shall talk to our lawyer and know if we will resume duty or not because the issues we are raising are critical,” she said.