Medics call off nationwide strike after talks


Dr Davji Atellah. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Doctors have suspended a nationwide strike over failure to implement the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after a consultative meeting with officials from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Council of Governors (CoG).

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) said the strike, which was to start on Friday, has been called off after MoH agreed to post medical interns to hospitals from next week.

The State, KMPDU says, has also agreed to pay post-graduate tuition fees for medics within January, which is one of their demands.

“Today, we communicate the union’s decision to suspend the intended strike on condition that the engagement that we have had over the last two weeks is entered as a consent before a court of law and the government compelled to fulfill within the timelines as they have promised 60 days,” said KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah Thursday.

Dr Atellah, who was speaking at the union’s offices in Nairobi, said the medics agreed to call off the industrial action after the government showed commitment to addressing some of their issues, including the promotion of doctors.

“We are far from having an agreement, but we are willing to give dialogue a chance. We extended an olive branch to the government to enter into the engagement with goodwill,” he said.

Dr Atellah noted that the CBA was entered five years ago after medics went on strike for about 100 days.

The issues KPMDU wants to be addressed are non-remittance of statutory deductions, insurance premiums and comprehensive medical cover for doctors. Others are hiring all unemployed doctors and providing adequate pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies, creating of a centralised human resource management, allowances for medical practitioners in universities, car loans and house mortgages and employment of doctors on permanent and pensionable terms.

The union has been holding a series of talks with the Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha and officials drawn from the CoG health and labour committees for the last two weeks.

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