By Joe Kiarie
Striking Kenyan doctors have accused the Government of dishonesty and threatened to increase their demands package if threats against them continue.
It has also emerged that consultants are considering withdrawing emergency services from all public hospitals and fully team up with the doctors if the Government does not drop its high-handed approach to the ongoing strike.
Yesterday, Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials lamented that the Cabinet sub-committee handling the strike had ignored them and subsequently addressing issues they had not raised.
They stated that the work boycott is not all about money, noting that the Sh1.9 billion offered to doctors on Thursday was never part of their demands.
“The total budgetary implication for the few cases involving money does not exceed Sh300 million per year as opposed to the Sh1.9 billion they have allocated. They sub-committee have set their own question and given their own answer that is seven times costlier to the tax payers while leaving the true problems unaddressed,” said Victor Ng’ani, the KMPDU chairman. He said the amount was negotiated last year and has now only implemented.
All about reforms
Dr Ng’ani said since its establishment, the Cabinet sub-committee has not met, listened to or requested information from KMPDU over the cause of the strike.
“The directive given yesterday was the result of typical old habits where the top people enclosed themselves in an office then come out with out-of-touch policies that they expect Kenyans to abide by.
I want to categorically state that Kenyan doctors will not do that,” he said. The chairman said the sub-committee acted on a one-sided account by top Health Services ministry officials. He dismissed the proposal to sack all doctors as retrogressive but also urged the Government to move on with the plan if it so wishes.
Were Onyino, the KMPDU secretary general, noted the top demand made by doctors is the establishment of the Health Services Commission as recommended in the Musyimi taskforce report.
“We need better infrastructure, equipment, health financing and employment of personnel in hospitals.