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Reprieve for doctors as court stops hiring of Tanzanian medics

160 jobless Tanzanian doctors were ready to begin work in Kenya this April.

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The court has temporarily quashed the government’s plan to hire foreign doctors by the government pending the hearing of an application challenging employment of 500 medics from Tanzania.

Issuing the order Thursday, Labour Court Justice Nelson Abuodha granted five applicants an interim injunction restraining the Ministry of Health and the Council of Governors (CoG) from employing the doctors.

Five petitioners – Dr Kahindi Menza, Dr Yunas Mohamed, Dr Lillian Magara, Dr Victor Mutisya and Dr Aldrin Gulenywa – moved to court to challenge the plan to employ foreign doctors. The five argued that  there are a couple of trained medical practitioners in the country.

In the application filed on Tuesday, the applicants sued Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, CoG Chairperson Peter Munya, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) for failing to act in the best interest of Kenyan doctors.

The medics also wanted the court to compel the government to absorb about 1,400 medical practitioners said to be jobless.

Justice Abuodha ordered the petitioners to file and serve a substantive application within 21 days pending the mentioning of the matter in court on April 19 for further directions, hearing and disposal.

On March 19, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the government would deploy 500 doctors from Tanzania in public hospitals across the country after Tanzania’s John Magufuli approved a request by Kenya’s Health Ministry.

CS Mailu had at the time said Kenya was facing a shortage of doctors putting the doctor patient ration at 1:6,000.

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