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Azimio senators offer Sh50,000 to clinical officers in solidarity with strike

 Doctors and clinical officers led by their union officials demonstrating along the streets of Nairobi on April 16, 2024. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Azimio senators on Tuesday offered Sh50,000 to clinical officers in solidarity with the ongoing strike.

Led by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna and his Kitui counterpart Enoch Wambua, the senators said the amount would help the striking officers sustain their efforts as they demand implementation of their CBA.

 "We stand with our clinical officers fighting for their rights. This will enable them to maintain pressure on the CoG and SRC," said Sifuna while handing over the cash.

Speaking outside Parliament buildings, Sifuna declared Azimio la Umoja’s intention to summon health officials before the Senate to explain why the unrest has not been handled.

"The first person we will summon is the SRC (Salaries and Remuneration Commission) Chairperson to explain why they have not convened a meeting with clinical officers over their grievances," Sifuna said.

He said the Council of Governors chair, Governor Waiguru will also appear before the Senate Committee to clarify why she has failed to engage the doctors who have been on strike for over three weeks now.

Senator Wambua in his sentiments called for the firing of Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha on grounds that she had failed to swiftly handle the matter and ease the pain on Kenyans seeking treatment.

While calling on President William Ruto to personally intervene and end the stand-off between the doctors and the Health Ministry, Wambua said the strike has caused a crisis within the health sector claiming innocent lives.

"A country that neglects its most vulnerable, its doctors, forfeits its legitimacy. With 47 counties affected, we must stop everything else and address the CBA and health workers' grievances,” said Senator Wambua.

The strike by clinical officers, now stretching into its fourth week, has paralyzed health services nationwide with Kenyans unable to access essential healthcare.

Concerns are rising over the risk of a cholera outbreak amid the ongoing floods and lack of treatment.

George Gibore, Secretary-General of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), reiterated the workers' unwavering stance, accusing governors and national government of disregarding court orders and the plight of suffering citizens.

In a dramatic turn of events, negotiations between the government and striking doctors hit a dead end, prolonging the suffering of millions of Kenyans seeking healthcare in public hospitals.

Moments after the government announced an offer to end the ongoing strike, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) rejected the proposed return-to-work formula, raising the intern doctors issue as the deal breaker.

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