Home NEWS Local News Doctor’s Strike: KU Referral hires foreign oncologists to assist cancer patients

Doctor’s Strike: KU Referral hires foreign oncologists to assist cancer patients

Board Chair Prof. Olive Mugenda says the hospital has dismissed some of the striking doctors and given suspension letters to others over the strike which she said was uncalled for.

The Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) management disclosed Tuesday that it has hired five specialists from the East African region to assist patients undergoing treatment at the facility.

The Hospital’s Board Chairperson Prof. Olive Mugenda indicated that the management sourced three oncologists from Ethiopia and one each from Tanzania and Malawi. She says the hospital has since recalled patients who were on chemotherapy.

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The move comes as doctors’ strike continued for the fourth week running,

Addressing journalists at the facility, Prof. Mugenda said the five will help revive the oncology unit, the facility’s flagship area, whose operations had stopped due to the strike.

According to Mugenda, some 45 patients undergoing treatment but forced to go home due to the strike have been recalled and another 40 new cases are being attended to.

The new medics, she said, have been approved by the government and will be incorporated into the facility even after the strike is called off to help address the huge demand for cancer treatment at the facility.

“The hospital receives a very high number of cancer patients and the doctors will be highly required at the facility,” she said.

At the same time, the KUTRRH Board Chair noted that despite the strike, several units in the hospital have been operational, including the radiotherapy department, the renal and imaging center, as well as the accident and emergency units.

She added that the hospital has dismissed some of the striking doctors and given suspension letters to others over the strike which she said was uncalled for.

“From the facility, 132 doctors are engaging in industrial action while about 82 doctors are working. The striking doctors should resume work and give dialogue a chance,” she said.

Prof Mugenda spoke even as some returning cancer patients expressed relief about a resumption of treatment.

“I lost my left breast to cancer and I have been going for radiotherapy services at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) until the doctors went on strike. I’ve been living with excruciating pain and even contemplated committing suicide,” said Rachel Nyokabi Kariuki

“I received a call from the head of Oncology from KUTRRH who told me to report at the facility and that I’d be treated for free on directions from the Ministry. I am grateful and my hopes of living longer have been revived,” she added

Another patient, Esther Wanjiku, said; “Patients are suffering out here and a solution needs to be found. The pain I was going through was too much and luckily, the hospital heard our cry,” said Wanjiku.

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