Health workers in Kenya are giving government respite. Several unions had called a strike from Monday to demand wage improvements and to protest the lack of protection for employees against the Covid-19. The social movement has been rejected.
After discussions over the weekend with the health ministry, unions postponed their strike for 21 days to give negotiations a chance. A framework for dialogue was adopted to continue contacts during these three weeks.
Although claims are not new, relations between government and health care professionals have strained since the arrival of the Covid-19. The latter demand social measures such as promotions or harmonization of insurance, social assistance and risk premiums. Next door, they accuse the authorities of taking their situation lightly, while they are on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus. Since the onset of the epidemic in Kenya, health workers have regularly pointed out the lack of equipment and protection to treat the sick.
Certain ad hoc mood movements have been observed. In mid-March, nurses from the largest quarantine center organized a ” go slow », Continuing the work but at a slower pace. At the end of March, certain agents even refused to treat patients suspected of having caught the coronavirus. Some unions have advised those who do not feel safe to exercise a right of withdrawal.
Health sector strike would come at a very bad time for Kenya as the country is in the middle of a massive test campaign and that the number of patients is increasing at an increasingly rapid rate.
With our correspondent in Nairobi,