On December 13, a meeting between the doctors’ union and Government failed to bear fruit in formulating a deal to end the two week long medical practitioners’ strike. The impasse is proving to be a thorn in Kenyans’ flesh as citizens can’t access medical attention in public hospitals.
The doctors want their grievances which include promotions and the hiring of more personnel to curb the current shortage be met before they can resume work.
“The two processes will go on, both parties have agreed that the Labour Ministry arbitrate and reconcile them.” – Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Phyllis Kandie.
The Cabinet Secretary for Labour Ms Phyllis Kandie on Tuesday met the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials in a meeting that took over four hours. The meeting didn’t however bear fruit following a statement from the KMPDU Secretary-General Ouma Oluga who said they have directed patients to seek medical attention in private hospitals; because doctors will not resume duty until the disputed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between them and the Ministry of Health is implemented.
Oluga further stated that no amount of intimidation from the government would make them go back to work, noting that the strike was ultimately for the benefit of Kenyans even as it entered it’s second week.
The Employment and Labour Relations court had however declared the ongoing doctors’ strike illegal.
Kenyan nurses on the other hand have been thrown into confusion not knowing whether to resume duty or to continue staying away from work after top union officials clashed on the status of their national strike. The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary-general Seth Panyako and his deputy Maurice Opetu differed on Sunday after Mr Opetu announced a deal had been reached with the government on a return-to-work formula and called off the strike. Mr Panyako later dismissed the said agreement insisting such decision could only be made by the union’s top organ and maintained the strike is still on.
While all the drama and politics surrounding the strike continue, more Kenyans fail to received necessary medical attention with some even succumbing to their ailments and injuries. We hope this impasse will be amicably settled as soon as possible as a lot of lives hang in the balance.