Court orders Kenya doctors to halt strike till further noticeBy DAILY NATION | Thursday, September 13 2012 at 12:43
The Industrial Court has stopped the Kenya doctors' strike until an application filed by the Attorney General is heard and determined.
Justice Stephen Radido gave the orders following a successful application filed by the AG on behalf of the ministries of Medical Services and Public Health challenging the strike called by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).
Lawyer Kiage Oenga, representing the AG, told the court that although the strike is supported in the Constitution, it was limited to the provisions in the Labour Relations Act since they are involved in providing essential services.
“The Labour Relations Act provides that hospital services are part of essential services and on that basis, KMPPDU should be ordered to stop calling its members to go on strike,” lawyer Oenga said.
A nationwide doctors' strike began Thursday in Kenya, paralysing services in most hospitals.
KMPDU said patients could not be attended to at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Eldoret.
However, the union said doctors at the Malindi Hospital at the coast were on duty to respond to cases occasioned by the Tana River clashes.
It said the strike was a success in central, north rift and other regions.
Doctors at the MTRH are holding peaceful demonstrations in Eldoret town, about 260km west of Nairobi.
On Wednesday, Medical Services assistant minister Kazungu Kambi appealed to doctors, pharmacists and dentists to ignore the strike.
Mr Kambi said the government had met all the conditions that the union wanted fulfilled before ending the doctors’ strike in December 2011.
“However, the current demand by the union that privately-sponsored trainee doctors known as registrars’ at the Kenyatta National and Moi Referral Hospitals be paid some allowances cannot be met since they are not on the government’s payroll,” Mr Kambi said in Parliament.
But, in a swift rejoinder, KMPDU chairman Victor Ng’ani dismissed the appeal by Mr Kambi, saying he was “just a politician making a political statement”.
“I’m surprised that people who care about (the delivery of) quality health services don’t exist in the health sector any more... It is also unfortunate that Mr Kambi has waited up to the last day to issue an erroneous statement,” Dr Ng’ani said.
Mr Kambi said the ministry was willing to dialogue with the union to thrash out any outstanding issues.
However, Dr Ng’ani was adamant that the strike was on, saying "nothing had changed".
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