In defiance of a court order and government pressure, doctors across the nation remain resolute in their strike, vowing not to engage in mediation talks until their demands are met. Despite the Employment and Labour Court’s suspension of the strike, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials have affirmed their commitment to continue the industrial action.

The court’s directive for a negotiation meeting between KMPDU officials and government representatives did not sway the doctors’ stance. Dr. Davji Atellah, the union’s secretary-general, asserted that they would not participate in the scheduled mediation, emphasizing that their grievances must be addressed without coercion or intimidation.

According to Dr. Atellah, doctors have endured years of mistreatment and disregard from the government, leading to their firm stance. The strike, he maintained, is the only language the authorities seem to comprehend, and they are prepared to maintain it until their concerns are addressed.

While complying with the court’s order to provide minimal emergency services during the strike, the doctors emphasized their readiness to respond to critical cases promptly. However, they reiterated that they would not resume regular duties until their demands, including comprehensive medical insurance coverage and fair employment terms, are met.

Among the key issues highlighted by the doctors are the need for increased healthcare funding, employment reforms, and the refund of unconstitutional deductions. They demand the government’s commitment to allocate 15% of the national budget to healthcare, in line with international agreements.

Meanwhile, the government contends that budgetary constraints hinder its ability to address the doctors’ demands fully. Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha cited financial limitations as the reason for the delay in hiring and posting medical interns, further exacerbating the healthcare crisis.

As the standoff continues, both parties remain entrenched in their positions, prolonging the healthcare service disruptions across the country. With patients bearing the brunt of the impasse, the urgency for a resolution grows, but a swift resolution remains elusive amidst the ongoing deadlock.

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