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Kenya, Tanzania Face Ongoing Health Worker Strikes

About 2,000 Kenyan health workers attended a demonstration outside the Ministry of Health on Friday, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports, noting, “Some 40,000 health workers nationwide went on strike on March 1 to protest low pay and poor working conditions.” According to the news service, “[t]he government announced Thursday that it fired 25,000 workers who defied an order to return to work” (3/9). “Anyang Nyong’o, minister for medical services, said on Thursday that the sacked workers would be required to re-apply if they are to be considered for reappointment,” MWC News notes (3/9).

In related news, Afrique en ligne reports that “[f]or the last three days, medical services have almost ground to a halt across [Tanzania] as doctors in various hospitals either started a go-slow or went on strike to press demands for improved working conditions, better wages and dismissal of the current Health and Social Welfare minister, Dr. Hadji Mponda, and his deputy, Dr. Lucy Nkya” (3/9). “More than 1,000 members of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) have stopped work,” according to Reuters, which adds, “Hundreds of doctors striking over pay … ignored a court order to return to work on Friday, forcing hospitals across the country to turn away patients and suspend normal services” (3/9).