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KMA calls for protection of health workers during protests

The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has condemned the use of excessive force against healthcare professionals and members of the public in the ongoing nationwide protests against Finance Bill 2024.

This statement follows the death of several people from gunshot wounds, including a medical doctor, during the day-long national protests. Reports also indicate obstructed access to medical care, the barring of ambulances, and attacks on healthcare delivery camps during the protests.

“The KMA strongly condemns the recent acts of police brutality and the use of excessive force against members of the public and healthcare professionals providing emergency medical services to injured protestors in the ongoing national protests. These actions by law enforcement agencies undermine the principles of a just and democratic society and have contributed significantly to the morbidity and mortality witnessed over the last few days.”

In a joint statement with other lobby groups on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, it was revealed that 13 people were shot with live bullets and four with rubber bullets during the #OccupyParliament protests.

KMA has urged the government to assure the safety and protection of health workers in the ongoing protests to enable them to provide essential emergency services without interference, terming violence against healthcare professionals unacceptable.

“We are deeply disappointed by the reported attacks and abductions of healthcare workers offering voluntary services to Kenyans exercising their constitutional rights. Violence against healthcare professionals is unacceptable and goes against the principles of compassion and care that the medical profession upholds.”

“The safety of healthcare workers in their line of duty is critical for the delivery of emergency services during crises such as this. Ensuring their protection is paramount for the continued provision of necessary medical services to those in need.”

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The medical association also reported that hundreds were injured as a temporary medical camp in the city came under a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets from the police actions that violated both the Kenyan constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

“The actions against healthcare workers and the obstruction of medical services violate the Constitution of Kenya, which guarantees every citizen the right to health and medical care. Specifically, Article 43 (1)(a) ensures the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to healthcare services. These acts also contravene international laws and standards. The Geneva Conventions, to which Kenya is a signatory, mandate the protection of medical personnel and the unhindered provision of medical care during times of conflict.”

“We urge the government and its security agencies to facilitate the movement and ensure the safety and protection of healthcare workers, enabling them to provide essential emergency services without interference.”

KMA has also appealed to the Ministry of Health to support the delivery of emergency medical services by providing the necessary resources for the timely and appropriate referral of patients.

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