Kenyan Healthcare Facing Widespread Disruptions as Health Worker Strike Hits Two Week Mark

What’s Happening

Patients within Kenya’s hospitals are facing trouble as a strike from the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has hit the two week mark, beginning on March 14th.

Kenyan doctors are on strike for better working conditions, implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), posting of medical interns and medical cover.

Negotiations between the government and the KMPDU have stalled, however, with the government stating they are refusing to further engage in negotiations until the strike itself ends, and the KMPDU stating that the strike will continue regardless.

Discontent is growing amongst the Kenyan populace as seeing a doctor at public hospitals becomes a near impossible task. Some services have halted completely, and a number of emergency services have slowed significantly. A number of people have reported going over a week without seeing a doctor, with the majority of present cases being handled by nurses, registrars (doctors in specialized post graduate training), clinical officers, and intern doctors, who are ill equipped to handle some of the cases.

Forced to Find Alternatives

Many people have been turned away from Kenya’s hospitals and recommended to private hospitals, where some doctors are still offering services. However, an issue is arising where some of those being recommended to these hospitals are unable to afford to pay out of pocket for services, leaving many people stranded between a hospital that wont accept them, and a hospital they cant afford.

For the few medical staff still offering services at the nations’ public hospitals, many are reporting significant burnout, unable to rest for long due to an overdrive of patients to care for.

Due to a number of hospitals turning people away from the cut to service, some people have additionally had to turn to home remedies, or simply to hoping that an issue will not worsen.

The KMPDU has taken to blaming the government for the issues arising among the Kenyan populace, claiming the government is taking the issue “lightly,” and that the nation will start to lose patients “because of the governments stubbornness.”

“There is an influx at KNH (Kenyatta National Hospital) of mothers who want to give birth, but there’s no doctor to attend to them. They are taking this lightly and it is going to be a big deal when we start losing patients because of the government’s stubbornness” -KMPDU Secretary-General Davji Atellah.

A photo of KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah addressing journalists outside of the KMPDU’s headquarters on March 18th, 2024 (Photo from Evans Habil/NMG).

The strike shows no signs of ending anytime soon and the government seemingly is showing no signs of buckling to pressure from the KMPDU, spelling trouble for Kenyans in need of healthcare services.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


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