KMPDU & government officials sign return to work agreement ending 56-day doctors’ strike. After a prolonged 56 days of inaction, Kenyan doctors have finally returned to work, although a major disagreement regarding the treatment and remuneration of medical interns remains unresolved....CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>

The decision to end the strike follows extensive negotiations involving the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and key government bodies, marking a partial victory in the doctors’ quest for better working conditions.

The strike, which began on March 13, 2024, saw medical services across the nation severely disrupted, highlighting the critical issues facing the healthcare sector in Kenya.

The resolution was achieved after “day and night meetings” held this Tuesday between the KMPDU and representatives from the Council of Governors and the Ministry of Health.

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Dr. Davji Atellah, KMPDU Secretary General, confirmed the news during a Wednesday evening press briefing.

Dr. Atellah expressed relief at the conclusion of the strike but noted that not all demands had been met.

“While we have agreed to resume work, it’s crucial to understand that significant issues, particularly concerning our interns, are still on the table,”he stated.

These interns, who are at the forefront of healthcare services, often face delays in postings and discrepancies in pay, issues that have now been deferred to the Judiciary for resolution.

The deadlock over medical interns revolves around their immediate posting as stipulated in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which the government wishes to delay pending ongoing litigation in Eldoret.

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As a temporary measure, the union and the government have agreed on a 60-day period during which further discussions will take place.

Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha lauded the negotiation skills displayed by the union’s leaders and acknowledged the strike had pushed the government to tackle systemic health sector issues more aggressively.

“The protracted discussions and the resulting agreement have not only ended the strike but have also set a foundation for addressing long-standing gaps within our healthcare system,”she remarked.

Furthermore, in a bid to preempt future crises, a joint taskforce has been established in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

This initiative, spearheaded by CS Ezekiel Machogu and CS Nakhumicha, aims to overhaul the training and deployment of healthcare workers, with the Ministry of Health set to update staffing norms that have been static since 2016.

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As the healthcare sector breathes a sigh of relief with the resumption of normal services, the unresolved issues surrounding medical interns continue to loom large.

The government’s commitment to re-evaluate and potentially reform these practices suggests a pivotal moment for Kenya’s healthcare, where the well-being of its future medical professionals remains a pressing concern.

This resolution marks a significant step towards stabilizing Kenya’s health services but also underscores the need for continued advocacy and reform to ensure that all medical professionals, especially those just starting their careers, are treated fairly and equitably..CONTINUE READING>>

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