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Crisis looms as Kenya Medical Practitioners, Dentists Union plan to strike

By George Kebaso
Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
KMPDU ACTING secretary-general Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda.
In summary

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) have issued a nationwide strike notice to the government over failure to address their grievances. 

Chibanza Mwachonda, KMPDU Secretary General and acting National Chairman Allan Ochanji, cited collapse of round one talks with the authorities over a range of grievances

Union wants the government to honour a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of July 2017, which was meant to improve  the medics’ terms and conditions of work.

“This CBA is in its final year of implementation. A myriad of  issues of the CBA remain unresolved.

Failure to fully operationalise it has directly been linked to the scattered approaches that individual counties and the national government have taken,” he said.

Yesterday, a section the union’s leaders emerged from a 21-day isolation after some of them tested positive for Covid-19 and announced a possibility of a countrywide strike in the next two weeks.

“We have had engagements with the authorities in the last two weeks. We have also had consultations with our members across the country for a possible industrial strike,” he said.

 He added: “ However, we are giving them chance in the next 14 days to address the issues we have been raising.

If that does not happen, we will withdraw our services,” Mwachonda said even as the union expressed doubts on the daily Covid-19 updates, noting that the low numbers being announced point to the lack of testing capacity in the country.

Speaking at the Union’s head office, Mwachonda wondered how the graph could be flattening when the number of frontline health workers infected has hit 1,000 with 16 fatalities.

The Union is also lamenting the withdrawal of a Covid-19 allowance, being an incentive for the frontline health workers.

There is also no commitment or indication of its payment, yet there is increased risk that all healthcare workers continue to face, he noted.

Another battlefront is the lack of commitment by the government to increase human capacity to tackle the health challenges straddling the country, yet there is a large pool of unemployed doctors.

Government failed to recognise that before the advent of Covid-19, there existed an acute shortage of healthcare personnel; tools of trade and infrastructure. 

Officials accused the government of focusing more on procurement of Covid-19 affiliated commodities benefitting tenderpreneurs at the expense of the much-needed human resources for health.

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