PLEASE END DOCTORS’ STRIKE NOW, MWANANCHI IS IN PAIN!
By Edwin Muthabuku | February 20th 2017
The struggle of doctors is not one that began in 2011 with the seven-day strike to agitate for better working terms and conditions.
It began in 1994 when 3000 doctors went on a strike seeking the registration of Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) and better working conditions.
It lasted for 105 days between June and September making it the longest doctors’ strike in Kenyan history.
The current doctors’ strike seems to be following in their predecessors’ footsteps as it marks its 78th day, the root cause being the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The contentious collective bargaining agreement (CBA) document according to Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary-general Dr. Fred Ouma Oluga, outlines issues touching on the welfare of both patients and doctors and his wishes are that it be registered fully and implemented.
Despite the doctors’ efforts to have the CBA fully implemented for the benefit of both doctors and patients, most Kenyans are of the opinion that they have no idea what the CBA is and what its content is while others thought the CBA is a bank in Kenya where the President has some shares.
Most Kenyans don’t know how the CBA will be of any help to them and wish that the government would sign “that thing” so that the doctors can go back to work.
The CBA is an agreement between government as the employer (through the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor) and the doctors as the employee which is accepted by law.
The doctors’ June 2013 CBA can easily be summarized into four main areas: training, employment, working environment, working conditions and pay.
It therefore not only covers payment of doctors but ensures that doctors can effectively cater for patients’ welfare, by being provided with a favorable environment, where they have the necessary tools and equipment readily available.
The media has done a good job in bringing to light some of the Kenyans affected by the ongoing doctors’ strike, most of whom are either on the verge of death and are clinging to the hope that they wake up to the news that doctors’ are back to work.
Could you imagine the plight of some of patients’ whom since the doctors’ strike began to bite have been in ICU beds with minimal health care provision?
It’s just too unfortunate, because all Kenyans have a right to affordable and quality healthcare as enshrined in the constitution but to most of them, that is just but a mere statement. Their only hope is for the government to agree to sign the CBA.
The issue that has been raised by the government is that the document does not have the input of all the relevant stakeholders, therefore, taking effect to it is legally becoming a challenge and is currently not affordable.
However, some legal minds are of the opinion that the doctors have a right to claim for their rights as it was a contract between both the doctors and the government.
Ultimately everything trickles down to you and me, the common mwananchi; the grass that suffers when two bulls are fighting.
The Kenyan citizens have suffered long enough despite their right to get access to quality medical care.
As long as both the government officials and doctors are public servants, it is their duty to ensure that they do everything possible to serve the citizens, in this case, find an amicable solution that will end the agony Kenyans are currently undergoing.
Both the government and doctors should keep in mind that at the end of the day it is the citizens who keep them employed and for that to continue, their health should be an important priority because after all, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
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