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County reinstates 33 medical staff

Laikipa County governor Joshua Irungu (left) and KMPDU Secretary General Dr Davji Atellah (right) when they signed a back-to-work formula for sacked doctors in Laikipia County [Mose Sammy, Standard]

A total of 33 doctors have been reinstated after day-long meetings between the Laikipia county government and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials.

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu said yesterday that plans were at an advanced stage for the formulation of a policy document that will ensure the interests of medics and other staff within the county government are protected.

Mr Irungu spearheaded the protracted negotiations after pledging during his inauguration two weeks ago that he would reinstate the doctors who had been fired by the previous administration.

“In my first assignment as your governor, I want to ensure that health services are back to normal. 42 months since these doctors were sacked, no meaningful service has been offered to our people," Irungu said in his swearing-in ceremony.

"In my manifesto, I promised reliable health services and that is what I have done," he added.

The doctors had downed their tools, paralysing medical services, after failing to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) initiated by the county government.

The Ndiritu Muriithi-led government further failed to reinstate the doctors, despite court directives.

In the latest negotiations, it was agreed that the doctors would be paid salary arrears for 27 out of the 40 months they have been away from their stations.

The medics, who were represented by KMPDU Secretary General Dr Davji Atellah, agreed to report to their stations today, while the rest would report to work after clearing from their current places of employment.

Mr Irungu further directed that medics be employed on permanent and pensionable terms as a majority of them were under-performing due to poor remuneration.

He ordered that all funds paid in health facilities be used to purchase drugs and medical equipment instead of being moved to the county revenue office.

"We hope other counties will embrace this approach to addressing issues to support the health sector and devolution," he said.

Both parties agreed on an unconditional withdrawal of nine different court cases lodged after the return-to-work agreement is registered with the court of law.