Police officers lobbed teargas at healthcare workers who attempted to invade Kericho Governor Erick Mutai’s office on Thursday.
Hundreds of healthcare workers drawn from various hospitals across the county stormed into the premises with placards, demanding to have an audience with the governor.
Despite police efforts to quell the escalating protests, the medical officers were adamant in their pursuit, with some chanting the governor’s name.
“We are healthcare workers on contract terms. We have been living on promises of permanent and pensionable conditions for a very long time,” lamented one of the medical officers.
Doctors strike outside Afya House in Nairobi.
“Most of us have been on contract for eight and six years. Some of us are badly paid and work in poor conditions,” another added.
Other workers faulted the governor for failing to heed his initial promises of increasing their salaries and improving their working conditions.
“We have not received any communication. He is our leader and should be able to sit us down and tell us when he is going to address our plights,” commented one of the protestors.
The over 500 medical workers who were mostly nurses vowed to continue with protests until their grievances were addressed.
According to the healthcare workers, the government placed their livelihoods at risk by failing to employ them on permanent and pensionable terms.
“The modus operandi of an oppressor is that they will threaten you and try to put you down, but my friends, let us not back down. Let us go for what is rightfully ours,” stated one of the nurses.
Earlier, the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) issued a strike notice demanding the government to revert its decision on comprehensive health coverage.
Doctors led by KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah vented their frustrations after the new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) scrapped the previous comprehensive cover.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the blatant disregard to the welfare of healthcare professionals who despite the unwavering commitment to the healthcare and wellbeing of Kenyans find themselves subjected to deplorable working conditions,” Devji noted.
Medical practitioners display banners during a past picketing exercise.