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CS Nakhumicha terms talks with KMPDU fruitful amid ongoing doctors’ strike

Friday, March 22nd, 2024 10:32 | By
Kenyans to pay higher rates in new health plan
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha. PHOTO/Print

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has termed talks with the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) fruitful amid an ongoing strike by health workers.

The talks to avert the strike have been ongoing since a Nairobi court ordered the CS and the unions representing health workers to come together and seek a solution to the issues raised by doctors.

"We had a fruitful engagement at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre following a Whole-of-Nation Approach (WONA) that was convened by Head of Public Service Felix Koskei as directed by the Labour and Employment Court to address the perennial labour relations issues in the health sector," Nakhumicha said in a statement on X.

The CS believes that the talks will bear fruit and bring an end to the strikes that have always been occasioned by dissatisfied doctors.

"The consultative forum deliberated on issues raised by the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union with a view to ensuring they are wholly addressed and the long-running cycle of perennial disputes that were time and again trying to plague Kenya's health sector is finally broken," she added.

KMPDU Secretary General Devji Attellah lead doctors in a peaceful demonstration over delayed posting of medical interns in Nairobi on February 29, 2024. PHOTO/KMPDU(@kmpdu)/X

Attendees

The stakeholders in the meeting included Cabinet Secretaries, the Council of Governors, KMPDU, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Kenya Federation of Employers, and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU-K).

On March 15, Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Justice Byram Ongaya issued orders that suspended the doctors’ strike that was expected to kick off then.

According to the judge, the strike would cause major disruption for hospitals and patients, and it was prudent that a solution be sought as KMPDU and the state argued their case in court.

Doctors' stance

The ongoing strike has mainly affected national hospitals, including Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), where all 70 medical doctors have been away. Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) have also seen doctors allied to KMPDU stay away.

The doctors countrywide have vowed that they will not resume duties until their grievances are resolved.

"Join us for a peaceful procession highlighting the state of healthcare in Kenya. Date: Friday, March 22. Time: 8:00 a.m. Route: KNH-Afya House-Parliament-Treasury-CoG," KMPDU said in a statement on X.

The same stance was taken by KMPDU Uasin Branch Secretary General Jackson Mulei.

“We shall continue with the strike as long as our grievances are not addressed, and no amount of threats and intimidation from both levels of government will compel us to return to work,” Mulei said.

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