Kenya's Public Hospital Doctors Sign Agreement to End National Strike

The end of the strike comes as a relief to millions of Kenyans seeking health services.

AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's public hospital doctors union on Wednesday signed a return to work agreement with the government, ending a national strike that began in mid-March and had left patients in limbo.

Davji Atellah, the union secretary general, said the doctors agreed to trust the government to implement an agreement to ensure the labor issues that caused the strike, including poor remuneration and working conditions, are resolved.

A labor court on Tuesday had given doctors and the government 48 hours to sign a return to work agreement, failure to which the matter would be determined by the court.

Kenya's Health Minister Susan Nakhumicha said the doctors had proved to be better negotiators than the government side, adding that they had put up "quite a fight."

The end of the strike comes as a relief to millions of Kenyans seeking health services from public hospitals that had been crippled by the strike.

Some hospitals had decided to hire temporary doctors for emergency services.

In 2017, doctors at Kenya's public hospitals held a 100-day strike — the longest ever held in the country — to demand better wages and for the government to restore the country's dilapidated public-health facilities.

Kenya is currently dealing with the devastating effects of flooding that has affected 235,000 people since mid-March when the rainy season started.

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