'Expect nothing else' Ruto tells doctors as KMPDU strike enters week 4

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah flanked by Kenyatta University Referral Hospital doctors address the press after the doctors downed their tools to join the countrywide strike called by their union. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto has asked the Kenya Medical Practitioners’ and Dentists Union (KMPDU) to accept the government's offer on payment of medical interns.

This comes at a time when the medics’ nationwide strike enters day 24.

While attending a church service at AIC Fellowship in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Ruto said the state lacks funds to meet the doctors’ demands.

“I know we have a situation with doctors and medical interns. I would like to implore them to agree to live within our means. We cannot continue to spend money we don’t have,” the president says.

“We must be honest and tell the truth. We can’t continue to borrow money to pay salaries etc. I want to tell the doctors that we mind about them and we also value their service but we must live within our means. We can only afford Sh70, 000 because we also want all 1,500 medical interns to be absorbed,” he adds

Additionally, the president has also revealed plans by the government to reduce the national budget from Sh4.2 trillion to Sh3.7 trillion.

“In fact, we are planning to have a conference on 15, 16 [April] in Kenya to discuss our wage bill as a nation. We spend Sh1.1 trillion to pay salaries and wages out of Sh2.2 trillion revenue. It is way above what we should be spending,”

He says plans to cut down ballooning wage bill ongoing.

“Currently, we use about 47 per cent of revenue to pay wages and salaries. It needs to go down to 35 per cent according to the law.

If we reduce the wage bill, then we will be able to free more resources for job creation and funding healthcare. That is a conversation we must have as a nation,”.

Doctors across the country began their nationwide strike on March 14, calling for hiring of more doctors and improved pay for medical interns.

The Ministry of Health has offered to pay medical interns a stipend of Sh70, 000, a move that has been opposed by the doctors’ union.

The union wants the 2017 CBA implemented first, and the interns paid as per the terms of the agreement.

However, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha has maintained that the ministry lacks sufficient funding to pay the amount doctors are pushing for.

By AFP 12 hrs ago
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