Doctors Begin Nationwide Strike In Kenya

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Medical doctors in government hospitals in Kenya have started a nationwide strike on Monday over inadequate insurance benefits and lack of protective equipment while treating COVID-19 patients.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union announced on its Twitter page on Sunday that there had been no resolution of complaints raised over the last eight months by the union.

The union said, “The Kenya government has neglected the Welfare, Safety & Health of health care workers.”

“No provision of medical insurance, Workman injury benefits & Compensation & lack of adequate quality PPEs.”

“This greatly hampers the fight against #COVID19 in a country with an acute shortage of doctors.”

According to the health ministry, Kenya reported 349 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with 6 fatalities, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 94,500 and the number of deaths to 1,639.

The virus has been spreading to rural areas where the public health system is creaking and limited intensive care units (ICU) are full, which has led to patients being turned away, according to Reuters reports.

Nearly three quarters of Kenya’s ICU beds are in the two largest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa.

In August, doctors in most public hospitals in the capital Nairobi went on strike for a week to protest against delays in salary payments and lack of protective equipment when treating patients who may have COVID-19, as reported by Reuters.

At least 14 doctors have died of the virus since the first coronavirus case in Kenya was confirmed in March, according to the doctors union. The strike had been due to start on Dec. 7 but was postponed for two weeks to give more time for talks with the government.