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We are waiting for State to offer us a return-to-work plan, doctors' union says

Health & Science
 KMPDU Secretary General Davji Bhimji accompanied by other Doctors addresses a press conference over a planned strike. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

As the crisis in the public health sector deepens, the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has accused the government of insincerity and refusing to come to the negotiation table to hammer out a compromise.

Speaking on Friday evening at the union’s headquarters in Nairobi, Secretary General Davji Atellah said contrary to what is being reported, the union has not defied a court order that suspended the strike.

He said the same court had ordered for a multi-sectoral approach in resolving the issue.

“The court has asked for one nation approach to this issue of healthcare. We as a union, we continue hoping that the government will call for these meeting. That is the meeting that will call off the strike that began on March 13, 2024”, he said.

Dr Attelah also added that the union is ready to meet the government any time, any day. On the issue of interns, the medic’s representative said they deserve better remuneration, since they work for long hours.

“We are ready for a meeting today, tomorrow, on Sunday on Monday or any time that it will be called. That will give us the work formula that will call off the strike”, he offered.

On his part, KMPDU Deputy Secretary General Dennis Miskellah accused the government of ‘being on strike’.

“KMPDU welcomes the decision of the court to once again compel the government to end their seven-year strike and join the union in bringing this stalemate to a quick end to avert any further human suffering”, he said

He also called upon the Ministry of Health to accede to the union’s demands on minimum agreement.

“They should also come up with their proposals on the minimum agreement service as ordered by the court. It was disappointing that while the Union tabled their proposal, the government did not have any,” he added.

The union also acknowledged ongoing talks to end the stalemate between it and the state but said the government side has not been offering any tangible proposals on the doctors’ demands.

The union has been pushing for posting and better remuneration of intern doctors, together with the implementation of the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Speaking before the Parliamentary Committee on Health on Thursday, Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha, said the government does not have the funds required to meet the doctor's demands.

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