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Home / Health & Science

Doctors claim private sector's hand in impasse

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy GRAHAM KAJILWA AND DAVID NJAAGA | Mon,Jan 30 2017 00:00:00 EAT
By GRAHAM KAJILWA AND DAVID NJAAGA | Mon,Jan 30 2017 00:00:00 EAT

 Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union(KMPDU) National Chairman Samuel Oroko (Left) and Secretary General Ouma Oluga address a press conference. (Photo:Willis Awandu/Standard)

Doctors are now blaming ‘influential hands’ from the private sector for the unresolved strike that has dragged on for eight weeks.

The medics are expected back in court tomorrow for further direction after their one-month jail sentence was suspended for five days to give them room to call off the 56-day strike.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has claimed forces from the private sector are arm-twisting the Government in order to ensure that it does not meet their demands.

Union Secretary General Ouma Oluga said this was to ensure that their businesses were protected and they continued to make huge profits.

HEAVY HAND

Dr Oluga said this had resulted in the Government’s mishandling of the strike by resorting to using the courts to punish them for not instructing their members to return to work.

“It is disappointing the way the ministry (of Health) has handled this strike. The ministry has not taken our problems seriously and we have resolved to have a mediator.

“And by how the strike has been prolonged, there is a heavy hand of the private sector manipulating the Government, specifically the ministry, to protect their profits,” he said.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich had also revealed the Government could not pay doctors the “ridiculous” amount they were demanding, saying it would collapse the private sector with a mass exodus of staff.

Although Employment and Labour Relations Court Justice Hellen Wasilwa had made it clear that the five days - elapsing today - were not in any way meant for negotiations, Oluga said the Government was yet to contact them with any offers since.

Meanwhile, the majority of Kenyans want striking doctors to resume work immediately, a new survey by Ipos Synovate has indicated.

The survey showed most Kenyans believed the strike undermined public support for devolution to the extent that counties held the primary responsibility for health services.

The study, conducted between January 9 and 26, indicates only about one-third of Kenyans back the strike, with more support coming from those directly or indirectly affected than those who have not been affected.

About half of all those aware of the strike knew someone who had failed to get medical services because of the strike, including themselves.

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