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Oluga resigns after landing Nairobi county health officer post

COUNTIES
By Mireri Junior | March 27th 2020

KMPDU Secretary General Dr Ouma Oluga with other union officials at a media briefing in November 2018. File, Standard]

Dr Ouma Oluga has been appointed Chief officer of Health at the newly created Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) headed by Maj Gen. Abdalla Badi.

Following the appointment, Dr Oluga resigned as Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General.

In a resignation letter seen by Standard Digital, Dr Oluga hailed medics for electing him to serve them for five years, but added that his time at the union was up.

He said his experience at the KMPDU has been a mixed bag of bad and good times, saying being elected at KMPDU made him a better medic than he was before.

“The last five years have been filled with sweetness and sorrow in equal measure. And I would not have wanted any of that experience any different than it has been. Being a KMPDU leader makes one stronger.”

Oluga thanked his colleagues in the medical field and those who served with him at the union, saying they all played a role in one way or another.

Dr Oluga had kind words for those who opposed him and his colleagues at the union, saying all of them played a role in his leadership.

“I say thank you to the leaders who instead of working came to Facebook to blackmail and manipulate their fellow leaders. I thank all those leaders who instead of rising to duty took every single opportunity to whip the emotions of vulnerable doctors to hate the people who work so hard for them.”

Oluga said that during his reign at KMPDU, the union managed to sign CBAs with county governments, ended the struggles of internship and managed to streamline post-graduate training sponsorship.

“The last five years have been good for KMPDU. We signed CBAs with county governments. We brought forth and permanently ended struggles of internship. We streamlined post-graduate training sponsorship and more importantly, we united doctors and gave them.”

Tough times

He cited the jailing of the union’s officials, himself included, and the denial of doctors' salaries as some of the tough times at the union he will remember.

Oluga urged health workers to remain united under KMPDU and push for better services, saying he will continue to fight for medics even outside KMPU.

Coronavirus pandemic

He challenged the medics to rise beyond duty and defend Kenyans during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that it is not the time to coil back and shout hoarse about how valuable the health workers are.

“The coronavirus pandemic is the chance for medics to rise beyond duty and be defenders of humanity. It is not and will never be the opportunity to coil back and shout hoarse about how valuable you are and what the world owes you.

Dr Oluga, however, told health workers to ensure they are safe as they go about their duties in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, saying medics have been casualties and deserved to be protected.

“The safety of every health worker comes first. Health workers have indeed been casualties in this pandemic. We must protect us first. It is also true that health workforce must be protected and expanded at this time when all health systems are stretched beyond limit,” he said.

He told his colleagues at KMPDU that apart from being the secretary general, he is a mere colleague facing the same challenges in the healthcare system like any other medic out there.

“Beyond being your secretary general, I was and will always be just a mere colleague facing the same challenges in the healthcare system as you do.”

Global coalition of health workers

Dr Oluga was in February 2019 elected president of all health workers in the world.

He will now lead the global coalition of medical workers for two years, beginning this week.

The Health Workers 4 All Coalition is a global coalition of health workers formed during the 71st World Health Assembly in 2018.

The coalition advocates for universal access to skilled health workers everywhere in the world.

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