Doctors in Kenyan capital end strike over pay delays, lack of PPE

By Reuters 27 August 2020

epa08464672 A man (R) stands next to a graffiti mural depicting a nurse trying to hold back coronavirus with a chain trying to stop it from pulling the planet earth that is trying to run away from it painted by an art group known as Art360, in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, 04 June 2020. The Kenyan government continues to emphasis on people to adhere to the preventive measures advised as they continue to fight to stem the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. EPA-EFE/Daniel Irungu

NAIROBI, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Doctors employed by Kenya's Nairobi County government resumed work on Thursday following a six-day strike over delayed salaries and a lack of protective equipment when handling patients who may have COVID-19, a union official said.

Thuranira Kaugiria, Nairobi County secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, said in a WhatsApp message the doctors had returned to work after signing an agreement with county officials on Wednesday.

In the agreement, the government promised to pay doctors on the fifth day of every month, failing to which the doctors were free to stop work without notice.

The agreement, seen by Reuters, also provides doctors with two isolation facilities in the event that they contract COVID-19.

The county government also committed to providing the doctors with adequate supplies of high quality personal protective equipment, the agreement said.

The 320 striking doctors walked out last week, citing poor quality protective gear, too few isolation wards, and inadequate health insurance.

The strike only affected hospitals run by the county government, and not those run by the national government or those that are privately run.

Kenya has 33,016 confirmed coronavirus cases, 564 deaths and 19,296 recoveries out of 429,513 tests conducted, according to the Ministry of Health.

The majority of confirmed cases have been in the capital, although the government says the numbers have started rising faster in rural areas. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Ayenat Mersie and Giles Elgood)


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