Kenya president: almost 20 dead as medical workers strike

Kenya's lowest paid doctors receive just £460 a month.

Kenyan police said on Tuesday that they are looking for 42 mentally ill patients who escaped on Monday from the Mathari Mental Hospital in Kenyan capital Nairobi after doctors and nurses joined the ongoing nationwide health workers' strike. They were left unsupervised because the nurses went on strike.

The hashtags #Doctors Strike and #LipaKamaTender (meaning "pay like a tender" in Swahili) were trending in Kenya on Monday (5 December) where a majority of people support the strike against unpaid salaries and terms of work. The hospital's Superintendent Dr Julius Ogato said when the patients failed to see the nurses who usually attend to them, they made a decision to leave their facilities on Monday.

She illustrated by giving an example of how she lost three patients last week at the government hospital in Nyeri due to under staffing at the facility.

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However, the government has pointed an accusing finger at the two health workers' unions, claiming that their officials kept shifting goal posts during the talks and had changed negotiating teams twice. She said the deterioration in facilities and also the political interference from local politicians at county level was extremely frustrating to the medical practitioners.

Those who have died during the strike include the sister of Stephen Mwaura, a 28-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with meningitis but in good condition when she was brought to the Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa on Friday. They are required to show cause why they should not be committed to civil jail for disobeying a court order that had barred the strike until the matter is heard and determined. "It will not work this time", said Gor.

The CS said the strike notice given by doctors was premature and pre-emptive.

A Kenyan doctor participating in a strike to demand better wages and improve working conditions, in Nairobi, Kenya.

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The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists' Union (KMPDU) says the Union and government "need dialogue" to ensure a more "efficient and effective public health" system in Kenya.

Dozens of mental health patients were said to have walked out of a hospital in Nairobi during the strike.

She said: "We have given all we could so that we engage the government and the SRC but they have ignored us and we have no option but to go on strike as from Monday".

"We are overworked and underpaid". We will not stop until doctors are accorded the dignity they deserve. All this talk about us boycotting meetings called by government is lies.

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"Let us partner together, we will find a solution, but please let us not allow the innocent citizen to suffer, who has nothing to do with the problem", Kenyatta said while visiting a hospital in Eastern Kenya.

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