NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Two consecutive strikes by health professionals
in Kenya in 2017 have caused crippling consequences to the
country’s health system as a few facilities struggle with influx
of patients, a global charity said on Wednesday.
The Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) said the current nurses strike, which follows a
100-day doctors’ strike earlier this year have left many public
health facilities closed and thousands of people without access
to essential medical services.
“It is crucial that
all parties work on a solution to restore access to emergency
and life-saving care, and referral services,” Head of Mission
for MSF in Kenya Abubakr Bashir Bakri said in a statement issued
The charity said
many Kenyans are unable to afford care in some of the private
facilities, which remain open during the current nurses’ strike.
It said other people
have had to travel long distances to reach free services
provided by non-profit organizations, sometimes ending up with
grave outcomes due to delays.
In some ministry of
health facilities that MSF supports, patients are simply not
coming, assuming they are closed.
“During the doctors’
strike for example, MSF covered the high costs of intensive care
in private facilities for severely ill patients. This is
unacceptable; life-saving services need to be reinstated as a
matter of urgency,” Bakri said.
The nurses have
boycotted work in some parts of the country since June, citing a
breach of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) they signed
with the government.
The response to the
cholera outbreak in the country has also suffered as there are
no nurses working in nearly all public facilities.
MSF said it had to
open a cholera treatment unit in Nairobi’s Mathare area, to
treat patients who would otherwise not have received care.
medical services remain suspended, others may not be so lucky.
With thousands cut off, we are urging that lifesaving activities
are maintained to alleviate the suffering of those most in
need,” said Bakri.