Why Kenyan Doctors are on Strike - Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union


12th September, 2012


The current Doctors’ strike is a stench emanating from the rot in Afya house. It is an indicator of a government that does not value the health of its citizens and their lives.

We would like to assure Kenyans that the Doctors Union does not condone the delapidation of the health sector. We shall continue to be a reliable and consistent voice for change and improved health care systems because we are not only fighting for the welfare of our members but also for better health care for all Kenyans.

As we ended the Doctors strike of December 2011, the Government and the Union agreed on key things that were captured in a Return To Work Formula signed by both parties with the government side led by the then Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta. The government has chosen to implement the RTWF selectively, ignoring a significant part of it.

Doctors have been very patient, lobbying and pushing for over eight months for total implementation but the government has been adamant.

Three weeks ago, the Union served Afya House with a strike notice. Unfortunately, instead of taking constructive measures to end the stalemate, the Minister of Medical Services chose to engage in propaganda to turn the public against doctors and to intimidate doctors back to work. Their intimidation tactics are illegal and have failed miserably.

It is unfortunate that innocent Kenyans continue to suffer because the government has refused to honor its word after a written commitment to do so. 

The bill of rights in our constitution entitles each Kenyan to health care and places this responsibility squarely on the state to provide well equipped hospitals and adequate personnel to provide health care when a Kenyan needs it. All Kenyans should therefore demand this right from their elected government.

To end the strike, the government must keep their end of the bargain and implement the following as agreed in December 2011:

1. Musyimi Taskforce Report:

The government must adopt and implement this report. The report defines specific actions that need to be done in several key areas. For instance, it has proposed construction of a REFERRAL HOSPITAL FOR EACH COUNTY complete with medical equipment and diagnostics.

It has also defined resources required to end perennial deficits in medicines and other supplies in our facilities, to set up a national ambulance service and to address issues surrounding Human resource.

The Musyimi report recommends a constitutional amendment to form a Health Service Commission to deal with matters of all health personnel in the country

The report also recommends that self sponsored registrars working in Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital and Mathare Hospital should be given a stipend. This was in fact, a decision to END SLAVERY of qualified doctors who for their backbreaking work that generates a lot of income for the referral hospitals get no pay at all and have to take other jobs at night to make ends meet.

Top ministry officials decided to trash the report which had representation from all stakeholders in favor of decisions taken by few individuals who are either inadequately informed or whose motives are anything but improvement of the health sector. We are calling for ACCOUNTABILITY from the government.

2. Postgraduate Fees: The Ministry of Medical Services received KSh. 131 million to cater for debts owed to the Universities since early 1990’s and to pay fees for personnel currently in training. To date, the old debts are still unsettled and current fees are not yet paid. Where did this money go to? We suspect this money has been misappropriated and just as we fought the NHIF saga, we are fighting again to END CORRUPTION in Afya house.

3. Emergency Call allowance: The government committed to paying this allowance to all doctors but to date, many have been left out. These doctors have to be paid too.

4. Employment of 200 doctors: Due to current shortage of doctors, the government committed to employ 200 hundred doctors. So far, only 57 Doctors were recruited.

5. Victimization must be reversed and intimidation must stop: Both parties agreed not to victimize anyone for activities done towards or during the December strike. However, the government has continued to threaten and intimidate our members. Dr. Onyimbo Kerama was forced to find a job in the terror-prone region of Eastern Congo after the government un-procedurally dismissed him from service for his role in activities that led to the strike.


In a nutshell, Doctors in Kenya are calling upon the government to:

1. Be accountable and take responsibility to end slavery in our referral institutions

2. Stop Corruption in Afya House and implement the Musyimi report. The Minister claims we are blackmailing the government and Kenyans. No Kenyan of goodwill needs to be blackmailed to do the right thing for our Country but if the government needs to be pushed to do the right thing, we shall not relent.

We call upon all Kenyans to join the union in transforming Health care in Kenya towards vision 2030. This is not our fight alone, the civil society, religious bodies and the media have a role to play too. 

Thank you for your support.

God bless the Union and God bless Kenya.

Dr. Were Onyino
Secretary General, KMPDU

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