Currently, the lowest paid doctors in Kenya take home around N140,000 ($350), while the best paid receive two million naira ($5,000) monthly. “If you stand for a political post, you stand to gain financial rewards. But if you spend your time to really do the work and give service to the people, you end up going home without anything substantial,” said Dr. Ashira.
The government faces are range of corruption allegations. Authorities are investigating tens of millions of dollars alleged to be missing from the health ministry, National Youth Service and from ministries issued cash by a Eurobond offering.
A Kenyan court ruled in December 2016 that the strike was illegal and seven doctors’ leaders were eventually jailed in February.
The nurses also went on strike for two weeks in December. Despite an agreement with the government, the nurses were threatening to go on strike again from 13th March as the agreement has yet to be implemented.
Kenya’s main doctors’ union, KMPDU, says the country has one doctor to 17,000 patients, while the World Health Organization recommends one to 1,000. The 2013 agreement calls for the health ministry to hire at least 1,200 doctors yearly during the next four years to reduce Kenya’s doctor-patient ratio.
University lecturers have also been on strike since January over the failure of the government to implement their agreement. Public sector strikes are a major blow to Kenyatta’s government just five months before general elections.
by Tokunboh Olakunle