Tuesday, 09 April 2024 04:43

GOVERNORS CALL TO RESOLVE IMPASSE OVER DOCTORS’ STRIKE

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Governors have asked striking doctors to resume work to ensure uninterrupted health service delivery to all Kenyans as negotiations continue.
Addressing the press following an extra-ordinary Council meeting held on 27th March 2024 in Nairobi, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E Anne Waiguru noted that the nationwide strike had paralysed essential services across public hospitals leaving patients frustrated and forced to seek services elsewhere.
“We call upon the doctors who are still on strike to go back to work, pursuant to the court orders issued on 13th March 2024 and 15th March 2024, failure to which the respective County Governments who are the employers, will be at liberty to take appropriate disciplinary action,” added Governor Waiguru while calling upon the National Government, County Governments and medics to work towards resolving the matter amicably.
While the Kenya Medical, Pharmacist and Dentist Union (KMPDU) issued their strike notice on 6th March, 2024, the failure to obey the 13th March 2024 court orders directing that the strike be delayed portends a lack of goodwill, a situation which has led to an impasse between the relevant parties.
Key issues raised by medics include: Delayed posting of interns; Extension of contracts for UHC staff; Payment of fees for doctors on postgraduate training; Payment of arrears of basic salaries as per the 2017 CBA and; Provision of comprehensive medical Insurance.
Outlining measures taken to address these concerns, Governors noted that Counties have progressively made efforts to ensure that medical practitioners are adequately remunerated. However, the CBA signed by the National Government and County Governments was not funded to implement the proposed salaries. Unions were advised to negotiate the new CBA with the individual County Governments.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health (MOH) was urged to extend the contracts of UHC staff for a period of three years under the same terms and conditions in line with the Summit resolution. Similarly, MOH should ensure timely payment of fees for doctors on post-graduate training to allow them to complete their studies within the stipulated time.
On the delayed posting of interns, the County bosses noted that it was the prerogative of National Government hence the doctors should seek redress on the same with the relevant parties.
The underfunding of the health sector, despite it being a fully devolved function, has greatly impeded the delivery of health services at the County level. Counties have demonstrated their commitment to addressing this persistent issue with at least 30% of the total allocation being set aside for the health sector.
Governors cited delays in exchequer releases by the National Treasury as one of the reasons for delays in payment of salaries further adding that the matter was not just an individual County or health sector issue alone but one that cuts across board and affects all county employees. This notwithstanding, Counties have put measures in place to mitigate these delays and ensure the smooth running of operations in devolved units.
The Council of Governors reiterates its commitment to address the doctors’ concerns and honor the call to serve for the benefit of all Kenyans.

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