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Health CS Nakhumicha threatens to sack striking doctors

 Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha. [File, Standard]

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has threatened to sack doctors participating in the ongoing nationwide strike.

Her sentiments come at a time when the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU)  is entering the second week of the strike.

While appearing on KTN News Hour on Wednesday night, CS Nakhumicha said that medical services are essential, therefore the health service stations cannot be left unattended.

As a result, she disclosed that there are plans by the Ministry of Health to recruit qualified unemployed medics.

“Services will be offered, that I can assure you. We have made all plans possible to make sure services will be offered. There are close to 3,000 doctors who are unemployed and we will not allow a crisis to come,” the CS told KTN News’ Ken Mijungu in a live interview.

“This evening, I have instructed KUTRRH and KNH to recruit and once we recruit that is it! For instance, KU has over 400 doctors waiting to be employed in their database. We have to put a measure in place. The places have to be manned. We have an ICU, the patient needs to be taken care of. I cannot sit and stay put,” she added.

When questioned whether she had fears that her stern actions would worsen the situation, she said “Are you underestimating my capacity to end this crisis?”.

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah is on record saying they want over 1,000 medical interns hired.

He has on many occasions criticised the Ministry of Health for refusing to absorb the medics thereby denying Kenyans medical services.

However, CS Nakhumicha argues that medical interns are overpaid yet they do not have a valid practising license. She says interns are supposed to be learning but since the hospitals are understaffed, the interns are overworked.

As a solution, the CS wants to hire more qualified doctors.

In 2017, KMPDU and the Ministry of Health signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which was never implemented as agreed upon.

On the other hand, CS Nakhumicha says the CBA cannot be implemented fully because some of the agreements are unrealistic.

“We have implemented the CBA to the extent possible,”

The two warring parties are still deadlocked, as the doctors' strike enters day eight on Thursday, March 21. 

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