Doctors Strike in Kenya

Doctors in Kenya were on strike for part of September and October in objection to the condition of public hospitals and health care throughout the country. This protest also seems to be a response to a lack of reforms instituted by the government, reforms that were promised due to a similar protest last year. Of the 2,000 striking doctors, the Kenyan government fired half, even though the country already faces a shortage of doctors.

The stakes for the strike are high- since the beginning of the strike at least two patients have died. Meanwhile, the striking doctors spoke out about their patients dying in the hospital due to a lack of supplies needed to provide proper care for them. ‘“It is a pity for someone to survive an accident but die in hospital because there is no blood, no Intensive Care Unit, no cervical collar, no splints and now no doctor,”’ stated Dr. Allan Kochi of the Nyeri Provincial Hospital in Central Kenya.

Dr. Fredrick Oluga, spoke about removing the placenta from a woman after she had just given birth. The hospital in Western Kenya had no electricity and the standby generator did not have fuel. The hospital was also lacking the gynecological gloves for the procedure. ‘"The patient was bleeding profusely and I had to act quickly so the nurse pointed light from her phone for me to conduct the procedure,"’ Oluga said. According to Dr. Oluga, he has already had to use a cell phone’s light to perform a procedure and this is a frequent occurrence throughout the country.

The strike is asking the government to spend more money on health care and to hire more health care workers. Kenya currently has one doctor for every 6,250 people, which falls greatly behind international standards. The standards for health care set by World Health Organization call for 1 doctor to every 100 people.

According to All the Kenyan doctors ended their three-week strike in the first week of October after the government committed to address the complaints raised by the protesters. Here’s to hoping the situation and healthcare in Kenya improves.

Check out the original articles here: