The hospital referral program to private hospitals which had been operational in Trans-Nzoia county which had been put in place to mitigate the effects of the ongoing doctors’ strike has been terminated.
This move comes about as a result of increasingly huge bills that the county government is required to clear on behalf of referred patients. According to the county government, as of January 2nd 2017, the bill stood at 4 million shillings which happens to be well beyond their budget. This resulted in the termination of the program meaning that patients will now have to cater for their own bills when seeking medical attention in private hospitals.
In a memo from the County Government of Trans Nzoia, expectations were that the doctors’ strike would last for a very short period but things took a different route.
The Garissa County Referral Hospital as well, through a memo sent out to the public discouraged its neighboring counties including Kitui County, Wajir County, Tana River County and Mandera County from referring patients to them since they are also affected by the ongoing doctors strike.
The doctors’ strike has now entered it’s second month, the longest in the history of Kenya,yet there seems to be no hope of things going back to normal any time soon. Doctors went on strike a month and seven days ago, demanding that the government implements the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was signed between their union, KMPDU and the government in the year 2013.
Among other things, the CBA suggests a salary increment for the doctors of up to 300 percent as well as bettering their working conditions. The doctors strike ran alongside that of nurses but nurses across the country ended their strike after their union officials struck a deal with the Ministry of Health.
Despite threats from the government to sack all doctors who will not have reported back to work by Friday, the health practitioners remain adamant until their demands are met.