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End patients' suffering

By The Standard | January 27th 2017

The doctors’ union representatives can now breathe a sigh of relief. A one-month suspended sentence earlier imposed on them by Justice Hellen Wasilwa would have taken effect yesterday after negotiations with the Government failed to yield results in the two weeks the court gave striking doctors to conclude negotiations and resume work.

The doctors, having gone to court to prevent incarceration, were given a five-day extension on the suspended sentence. Both sides have demonstrated intransigence that has failed to chart a way forward on the impasse over demands for a 500 per cent rise in salaries contained in a 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Thousands of Kenyans have lost their lives even as many inch closer to their graves because of the strike. If not for anything else, the suffering of Kenyans and the Hippocratic Oath should guide doctors in their negotiations.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu would do well to acknowledge the legality of the CBA signed in 2013 and thereafter proceed to negotiate with the doctors.

Rather than resort to intimidation, the Government would place itself in good stead if it laid bare whatever difficulties restrict it in honouring the CBA. There must exist a middle ground. And that is the salvation Kenyans are waiting for.

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