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KUCO to withdraw specialist clinical officers as stalemate deepens

  KUCO Chairperson Peterson Wachira speaks on April 5, 2024. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers has threatened the withdrawal of specialised medical staff from public healthcare facilities. This could further strain the country’s healthcare system already in dire straits.

“From Monday, the union will be withdrawing anaesthetists, critical care specialists, emergency specialists, and all other specialists who had been allowed to continue working during the ongoing strike,” said KUCO Chairperson, Peterson Wachira.  

Wachira added that all clinical officers working in Level 6 hospitals, the Mathare Hospital, Spinal Injury Hospital, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH), Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) will be withdrawn from from Wednesday next week.

This follows a breakdown of talks called by the Ministry of Health to resolve the impasse. According to the KUCO Secretary-General, government officials failed to show up despite previous arrangements. 

Amid the grandstanding, posturing and inaction that has created a deadly impasse for patients across the country, today marks 31 days since doctors declared a nationwide strike, and 13 since Clinical officers followed suit.

At the heart of the doctors' stance is the Salary Review and Implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Improved Working Conditions, Hiring of More Medical Personnel, Medical Insurance Covers, Protection from Victimization, and timely payment of salaries.

Despite the government's efforts to resolve the crisis, KMPDU has dug in, insisting that no compromise will be made until all demands are met.

Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi is the latest to threaten the striking medics with the sack if they fail to resume work immediately.

"I call upon all Kiambu health workers currently on strike to immediately report back to duty, failure of which the County will have no option but to implement disciplinary procedures provided under Employment and Labour laws and regulations," Wamatangi said in a statement.

Some of the issues facing the strike in Central Kenya county include timely payment of salaries, career progression and depositing of statutory deductions.

Wamatangi’s statement follows a similar demand by Kisumu Governor, Peter Anyang Nyong’o  and his Kakamega counterpart, Fernandez Barasa

In Nairobi, healthcare workers are demanding the county government to address Salary Disparities, lack of Promotions and Career Progression and Poor Working Conditions.

They also want the governor to work on Non-Payment of allowances, Lack of Medical Insurance and alleged Victimization of Union Leaders by government officials. However, the issue of failure to absorb medical interns on terms agreed on in the CBA still reigns supreme

Kirinyaga county medics also want the county government to work on the alleged delayed posting of medical interns, payment of basic salary arrears and general adequate remuneration and failure to provide medical insurance to union members. They are also demanding that the county government release doctors to pursue post-graduate training.

In Kajiado, doctors are complaining of burnout, resource crunch and unfair transfers.

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