Kenyan doctors end strike over inadequate PPE, delayed pay

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan doctors working in public hospitals ended a nationwide strike on Thursday. Ministers said concerns about inadequate protective equipment during the pandemic, late payment and lack of insurance had been allayed.
The Kenyan doctors, pharmacists and dentists union of 7,000 members went on strike on Monday, saying the government had not responded to complaints it had reported since the first coronavirus case was reported in March.
"All the issues raised and listed have either been raised or we have given assurances that action can be taken," said Simon Chelugui, Minister of Labor and Social Protection, at a press conference that was attended by high-level trade union officials.
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In a country where most people rely on public hospitals, the strike had raised fears that the fight against the coronavirus and the treatment of other diseases could be severely affected.
"In the future, we want to not only deal with the issues that we have on the table here, but also improve health care in the country in general," said Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe at the same press conference.
At least 14 doctors have died of COVID-19 since March, including several leading medical specialists, according to the medical union.
Over the past month, the virus has spread to rural areas where the public health system is creaking and limited intensive care units are at full capacity, medics told Reuters.
Kagwe and Chelugui did not mention the nurses and clinical officers who have also been on strike for two weeks because of similar abuses. The two groups have their own unions.
As of Thursday, Kenya had 95,431 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,652 deaths and 76,720 recoveries, data from the Ministry of Health showed.
(Reporting by George Obulutsa; editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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