Doctors' Strike Continues as KMPDU Denies Agreement with Government

Kenya's doctors' strike enters its second month as the government and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) fail to reach an agreement. A meeting is scheduled at State House, but KMPDU says no return-to-work deal has been reached.

Israel Ojoko
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Doctors' Strike Continues as KMPDU Denies Agreement with Government

Doctors' Strike Continues as KMPDU Denies Agreement with Government

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has refuted reports that they have reached an agreement with the government to end the ongoing nationwide strike. Despite reports circulating on social media, including a post by State House Director of Public Communication Gerald Bitok, KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah dismissed the news as "propaganda and rumours."

Why this matters: The ongoing doctors' strike has significant implications for the healthcare system in Kenya, affecting the well-being of patients and the overall quality of care. A resolution to the strike is crucial to prevent further deterioration of the healthcare system and ensure that medical professionals are able to provide quality care to those in need.

The strike, which has entered its second month, continues as doctors demand better working conditions, salaries, and benefits. President William Ruto had called on doctors to end the strike during the 59th Labour Day celebrations, stating that the government is willing to meet 17 out of 19 of their demands. However, Dr. Atellah emphasized that the union wants all issues that signing to the strike to be addressed, including the payment for medical interns, employment of more doctors, and the exploitation of KNH doctors.

"From the point we were last time, the issues that had to be resolved... have not been resolved," Dr. Atellah stated. He confirmed that a meeting between KMPDU and the government is scheduled to take place at State House on Friday afternoon, but stressed that no return-to-work agreement had been reached. "We will only sign once these issues are resolved and as of now nothing has been resolved," he added.

On Thursday, the High Court directed the government and striking doctors toworkformula by Monday next week. The Employment and Labour Relations Court declined to order KMPDU to call off their nationwide strike prior to signing the agreement. Justice Byram Ongaya also directed the two parties to set aside the issue of remuneration for medical interns, as the case is already before an Eldoret court.

The Council of Governors (CoG) has urged the KMPDU to negotiate with respective County Governments on issues related to their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). CoG Chairperson Anne Waiguru stated that all Counties have implemented the enhanced allowances for doctors as per the 2017 CBA. She emphasized that the health function needs to be fully costed and adequate resources availed for counties to implement it effectively.

As the strike continues, the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has advised the government to establish a multi-sectoral taskforce to review the health sector holistically beyond the current situation. KMA President Dr. Simon Mucara Kigondu stressed the need to maintain the dignity of doctors and acknowledge theled2017 CBA."Medical professionals make enormous sacrifices to offer quality healthcare at the expense of their own well-being. They work long and odd hours. They encounter psychological or physical trauma at the workplace and are prone to moral injury,"he said.

The ongoing doctors' strike has highlighted the challenges faced by healthcare workers in Kenya and the urgent need for the government to address their grievances. As negotiations continue, the nation awaits a resolution that will ensure the well-being of both doctors and patients alike.

Key Takeaways

  • KMPDU denies reaching agreement with government to end nationwide doctors' strike.
  • Strike enters 2nd month, with doctors demanding better working conditions, salaries, and benefits.
  • Meeting between KMPDU and government scheduled for Friday at State House.
  • High Court directs parties to work out a formula by Monday, excluding medical interns' remuneration.
  • KMA advises government to establish taskforce to review health sector holistically.