Striking doctors threaten to shut down medical training schools

Medical students during a practical lesson. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
Medical students during a practical lesson. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA  

All medical schools in the country shall remain closed until the doctors’ impasse has been resolved, striking medics have said following unsuccessful negotiations with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) had earlier warned that activity in all the nine medical schools will be shut by January 10 if the government would not have implemented the July 2013 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“If there was really any need for an additional reason to end the strike, this is another one of them,” said KMPDU official Prof Elijah Ogolla while addressing journalists Friday.

“We reiterate that the basic document for negotiations is the CBA and we request the authority to accept it. Once done then the matrix of implementation can be negotiated but I don’t think the idea of negotiating outside the CBA is negotiable,” he added.

The statement, which was issued this afternoon, comes after the doctors declined President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 40 per cent salary hike offer given to them after a meeting in Mombasa on Wednesday.

There are currently eight registered and approved public medical schools and two private facilities. One of the private medical schools, however, is yet to be approved.

The nine approved public medical schools include the University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences, the University of Nairobi Dental School, Moi University School of Medicine and Moi University School of Dentistry.

Others in this category medical schools under Kenyatta University, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Maseno University.

The private facilities include the Aga Khan University Teaching Hospital and the Uzima University College - which is a affiliated with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) but is still being constituted.

“We only have 700 doctors yet to finish school and have to go through compulsory internship afterwards. Even when they finish they are joining us in the strike. Government needs us and that is why they are panicking,” said KMPDU secretary-general Dr Fredrick Oluga.

The offer tabled by government would see the least-paid doctor take home a monthly salary of Sh196,989, up from the current Sh140,244. The pay rise would include allowances offered to the doctors in various job groups.

The doctors demanded, however, that the government meet their demands including annual training of specialist doctors, research funding and internship programmes besides a 300 per cent salary increase.

The Treasury and the Public Service Commission will have a status update on the doctors' strike from 3 p.m. Friday at the Treasury Building.