Health Care Strike In Kenya has to be Solved. It is a Nightmare for Every Citizen

10 mins read

Healthcare workers all over the world do one basic thing. They keep you alive when you fall sick and you go on with your life.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja came up ordering health workers to go back to work “Or else”. Just silly. KMPDU representing health workers all over the country is not answerable to Sakaja. They are having discussions with parliament the CS for health. All those people should get their work done instead of Sakaja talking crap like this.

Sakaja to doctors: You’ve 12 hours to return to work or else…
“If you don’t go back to work, that will be deemed as a disciplinary issue.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has given striking county doctors a 12-hour ultimatum to resume work Thursday morning in an offer he says will end in the replacement of those who will ignore the directive.

In a statement Wednesday evening on the steps of City Hall, Sakaja said the county government has already commenced the process of absorbing intern doctors and as such, the doctors’ strike is unwarranted.

“I’m addressing not just the union, I’m addressing the individual doctors in Nairobi who have an individual term of service with the county government that we have hired you to offer a service to our people; everything you have requested for has been given. No issue with your employer needs a strike, go back to work,” he said.

The governor said the absence of any doctor at their workstation upon expiry of the ultimatum will be considered absconding of duty.

“If you don’t go back to work, that will be deemed a disciplinary issue. We will just take it as absconding duty,” he said.

He spoke after holding a meeting with the county health sector leadership including officials from the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

Doctors started a nationwide strike on March 14 accusing both national and county governments of failing to implement a raft of promises contained in the 2017 collective bargaining agreement signed following a historic 100-day strike.

Among their demands is the provision of comprehensive medical cover for doctors and the posting of 1,200 medical interns.

KMPDU Secretary General Dr Davji Bhimji called for the strike that saw 4,000 doctors down their tools despite a court order asking the union to halt the strike to allow talks with the government. 

Sakaja said he has taken a more lenient approach to resolve the impasse compared to a harsher course of action proposed by the Council of Governors against medics who would refuse to abide by the court order.

The CoG issued an advisory to doctors on March 15 saying counties would among other measures withhold salaries for the days they would be on strike and initiate contempt of court proceedings against the union and their members.

“We did not do that, we opted for dialogue and that’s why we’ve sat the whole afternoon to discuss. We have not withheld anybody’s salary, we have not started any disciplinary action, we have listened to the issues that they have,” Sakaja said.

The county boss said he has committed to absorb all intern doctors who have been working across all public health facilities and assured that they will all be retained on permanent terms.

“That’s what I have asked the County Public Service Board to do; of course, I don’t direct the board but I understand that if you had been there internally, our policy as a county for all recruitment is that priority is given to those who are serving internally,” he said.

“Now that offer that I have given, you have made it now 11 hours, it is reducing in time. I want to release the national chairman (KMPDU) and the secretary to go meet their membership,” Sakaja added.

The meeting came on the same day the court extended the conciliatory period until further notice.

Sakaja said another meeting called by the Head of Public Service on Thursday, March 21, will still go on.

The meeting that requires governors to attend in person will be held at the Ministry of Labour from 10am to consider the issues contained in the doctors’ strike notice.

Sakaja said he would honour the meeting but will be represented by someone as he will be attending a burial service in Nyeri County.

Justice Byram Ongaya set April 3, 2024, for the recording of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the compromise that will be reached at the meeting and issuance of further directives.

The judge said the doctors’ strike notice dated March 6 remains suspended to pave way for negotiations and the ongoing conciliation process.

“So my workers, there is no strike. The strike is suspended by the court; the strike has been suspended by your governor. Your governor has given you goodwill to respond to those issues, you must report to work tomorrow,” Sakaja said.  

“We are a country that believes in the rule of law and this decree by the court must be respected by all of us. So no strike is legal in Nairobi, that is our position.”

This is the same Sakaja who told Nairobi folks that KMPDU should deal with the national government and he has nothing to do with them. Everybody in the KK regime is totally confused.

Sakaja tells off striking doctors, refers them to national government

By Kevin Cheruiyot February 14th, 2023 

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja speaks to the media in Nairobi on February 14, 2023.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has said his administration has nothing to do with the recent demonstration that was brought to his doorsteps by a section of doctors.

Speaking on Tuesday during the flagging off of medical supplies worth Sh244 million from Kemsa, the governor said the picketing doctors directed their wrath at the wrong person.

He said the doctors signed their contracts with the national government, which they should seek to the address their grievances.

Ruto CS for Health Services, Susan Nakhumicha is one the Ruto characters on news everyday with pictures and everybody is dressed up like Kindiki, Gachagua they are all making announcements everyday.

Why can’t CS Nakhumicha do something real and talk to KMPDU and the governors to sort this health care problem in the country which happens every year. I know that because many people in my family in Kenya are health workers and even many more need public health services because private health care is very expensive in the country.

One really strange thing that has to be addressed is that under the 2010 constitution health care is run by the counties and they pay salaries for doctors and nurses and buy the meds. Yet the national ministry of health has a huge budget on the health docket. What exactly is the money for health at the national government budget being used for?

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Bhimji

KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah

KMPDU should work with the national government and counties to figure out how to finance, budget for and spend the health budget in the country because it is one of the most important ever issue in any country.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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