Isaac Mwaura says doctors’ strike is i*****l

Thursday, April 4th, 2024 16:48 | By
Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura
Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura. PHOTO//X

Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura has said the ongoing strike engineered by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) is illegal.

Mwaura insisted that the industrial action by the health workers stand suspended after a court order that was delivered on April 3, 2024.

"The strike notice issued by KMPDU remains suspended. This is in line with yesterday's order from the Employment and Labour Relations Court requiring the whole-of-nation approach and conciliation meetings to be concluded within 14 days, and the parties to conclude and file in court the minimum safety service MOU within 14 days," Mwaura said in a statement.

The order by the court also asked the county governments to file reports that would help end the strike by closing the gaps in the health sector.

"Additionally, the order directs the Council of Governors (COG) to compile and file in court a report on the gaps within public health facilities with a view to informing the ongoing negotiations, including the current numbers and cadres within our health facilities," Mwaura's statement continued.

This comes even as KMPDU instructed intern doctors not to pick internship letters from the Ministry of Health due to remuneration disagreement with the government.

According to KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah, the proposed Ksh45,000 to Ksh70,000 monthly gross pay for intern doctors is much less than the Ksh150,000 monthly net pay the union is demanding.

"For them to be paid as per the SRC (Salaries and Remuneration Commission), it means they have gone against the 2017 court order which ordered the implementation of the collective bargaining agreement," Atellah said.

The former Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) nominated Member of Parliament defended the government and revealed measures they have taken to ensure the strike ends as soon as possible.

"The Kenya Kwanza government, in collaboration with the county governments, is committed to the realization of universal health care (UHC) and will thus continue to work together with KMPDU and all the stakeholders.

"Accordingly, the national government has initiated varied measures to meet its obligations and responsibilities, including providing grants and scholarships for eligible postgraduate medical officers, paying basic salary arrears, and obtaining budgetary support of Kshs2.4B for the immediate deployment and posting of the 2023/2024 cohort of medical student interns," he added.

Striking doctors protest in the streets of Nairobi on March 22, 2024. PHOTO/X (@Davji)

Mwaura's promise

The Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders have been holding talks aimed at ending the impasse, although KMPDU has insisted on striking until their demands are fully met.

"The government is in talks with the representatives of the KMPDU, to address the persistent issues affecting Kenya's healthcare sector.

"The Conciliation Committee, also known as the Whole-of-Nation Approach Committee, convened on March 21, 2024, and afterwards on March 27, 2024, to fast track the process and to mediate on the matters raised by the Union," Mwaura added.

Mwaura's stance comes after Principal Secretary (PS) for Public Health and Professional Standards in the Ministry of Health Mary Muthoni Muriuki called on various health workers to pick up their call letters and resume work.

Medical officer intern, pharmacist intern, dental officer intern, nursing officer intern (degree), clinical officer intern (BSCCM), and clinical officer intern (diploma) have been asked to pick up the internship letters and report to their respective stations within the next seven days.

More on News