In Summary

• The striking doctors continued to see patients at their private clinics within KNH.

• Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general Davji Atella insisted the strike would go on, with doctors assembling in Nairobi to protest.

Striking doctors have disrupted operations in key public hospitals as their union’s stalemate with the government persists.

Talks to end the strike hit a snag on Wednesday after the government side refused to engage the striking medics any longer until they call off their work boycott.

Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general Davji Atella insisted the strike would go on, with doctors assembling in Nairobi to protest.

Patients across across the country continued to bear the brunt, with services at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret nearly grounded.

Only emergency services were being offered at the facility that serves the larger North Rift region. Nurses were handling most of the cases.

The hospital has more than 100 doctors and consultants, who are members of KMPDU.

Patient Paul Kipyego, who is admitted at the facility, said he had only been attended to by nurses.

“Usually we have doctors doing rounds to check on us and recommend treatment but I haven’t seen them for over a week now,” he said.

Jane Wakui said she was to be treated by a specific doctor who could not be accessed.

“The doctor has been handling my ailment and I was admitted here hoping to see him,” she said.

KMPDU brach secretary Dr Kamonzi Mulei said they are on strike in solidarity with their colleagues countrywide.

“We feel its time the government resolves the issues we have been raising over time. We will not be forced to go back to work unless our issues are resolved” Kamonzi said.

Counties like Turkana and West Pokot are hard hit with no doctors and few nurses to help patients.

At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, services remained partially disrupted.

Clinical officers, nurses and intern doctors were the only medics attending to the few patients who visited the hospital on Wednesday.

The patients, who spoke to the Star, said the services were slow and those with chronic diseases were being turned away or referred to private hospitals.

JOOTRH serves counties in Western and Nyanza, including referral cases.

A medic at the facility said the beds at the casualty were not full, an indication patients opted to either visit private facilities or stay away.

A resident, who had taken her child to the hospital, was stranded after being told to buy medical kits as they were unavailable at the facility.

The child had leg injury.

“We have been seen by a clinician and only told to go buy some things. We are not even aware of the X-ray report,” she said.

Accident victims, who sought anonymity, said they were only attended to by interns.

“These interns are not capable of handling critical cases. The government should act because Kenyans are suffering,” they said.

At Kenyatta National Hospital, clinical officers and registrars were on overdrive attending to patients, whose number is rising daily.

Registrars are doctors on specialised postgraduate training, which mainly involves clinical work.

Doctors employed by the facilities joined their colleagues in the strike. Although services remained, they had been significantly slowed down.

However, the striking doctors continued to see patients at their private clinics within KNH.

Such patients pay more, mostly out of pocket and are admitted, if need be, in the private wards.

A family that withdrew their patient from the nearby Mbagathi Hospital said there was hope the patient would be seen at KNH.

“We were advised to come to the casualty department and bring him as a new patient,” said Bob Kioko, whose 35-year-old brother was sick with stomach problems.

He had been at Mbagathi for three days, where he was being cared for by nurses.

“He has not been admitted here at Kenyatta but once that happens, we are told a doctor will see him but it may be after a long time,” Kioko said.

Mary Okoth, whose daughter is due to give birth anytime, said a doctor had seen her.

“She is in the maternity ward and they were seen by a doctor yesterday night,” she said.

However, the Star understood clinical officers and registrars are facing burnout.

We have not rested since our shift on Tuesday night,” one said.

In Mombasa, healthcare services at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital have been paralysed.

“We are still on strike. We have discharged most of the patients and those who are still in hospital are those who are yet to settle their bills. They are being taken care of by nurses and clinical officers,” KMPDU Coast region chairperson Dr Ghalib Salim said.

Patrick Mwenda, who took his brother to CGTRH on Sunday, said his family is in agony seeing him suffering in the house because they do not have enough money to take him to a private hospital.

“My brother suffers from high blood pressure. This is a condition that has taken a toll on him and the family. Usually, when the situation gets worse, we take him to the hospital and stay there for even four days,” he said.

“On Sunday when his situation worsened, we took him to CGTRH, and upon arrival, we were told to go back home because no service was being offered.”

He added, “Today is the fourth day looking at my brother wail in pain. We are helpless and we have left it all to God.”

Another patient told the Star said she had decided to seek a home remedy after witnessing a patient losing their life at the hospital.

“I believe, were it not for this strike, the people losing their lives could have been saved. I was in the hospital for one night before being discharged and what I saw still pains my heart. People are suffering as others lose their lives,” she said.