Healthcare services in 12 Kenyan counties face severe disruptions starting Wednesday, April 19, as medical professionals announce a work stoppage in response to delayed salary payments and unremitted statutory deductions. The affected counties include Kisumu, Mombasa, Nyamira, Kisii, Murang’a, Nyeri, Laikipia, Bomet, Nyandarua, Embu, Vihiga, and Taita Taveta.
Davji Bhimji, Secretary General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU), expressed deep regret on behalf of union members who find themselves in dire financial straits. Struggling to afford essential living expenses such as transportation, food, and housing, these healthcare workers insist that their work stoppage is not a strike, but a reflection of their inability to continue working without the necessary resources.
Bhimji appealed to the governors of the impacted counties to act swiftly in resolving this pressing issue and ensure that medical professionals receive their salaries promptly to prevent further disruptions to healthcare services. He emphasized that the KMPDU remains open to discussions with county leaders in an effort to mitigate the looming crisis.
The embattled Kenyan healthcare sector, which has suffered since its devolution a decade ago, has prompted doctors to call for the establishment of a Health Service Commission (HSC). This commission would oversee the deployment of critical personnel and help streamline the healthcare sector, addressing ongoing challenges while building on its strengths.
In reflecting on the past ten years of devolved healthcare, Bhimji stressed the importance of an honest assessment of the current state of the Kenyan health sector, highlighting the urgent need for a body akin to the HSC to foster collaboration and synergy in the face of mounting challenges.