Doctors to assess State’s pay deal to end strike

The government has offered doctors a pay hike of more than 40 per cent to end their month-long strike.

In an offer announced from State House on Mombasa after a day-long meeting between the doctors’ union officials and President Uhuru Kenyatta, the least paid doctor would take home a monthly salary of Sh196,989, up from the current Sh140,244.

The statement said the pay rise is cumulative of allowances offered to the doctors on various job levels.

The meeting comes after doctors called on the President to “exercise his executive authority as the ‘highest office in the land”‘ and end the strike.

After the six-hour meeting, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga said they appreciated President’s effort.

“We have not reached any agreement but we thank the President for convening the meeting.

“He was concerned about our issues and we talked at length. We had a fruitful engagement and we appreciated there are challenges,” Dr Oluga said.

He added: “We will have to discuss with our members…what they offered is outside the CBA,” he added.

“We shall reconvene on Friday at 10am at Treasury to continue with engagements.

“We thank you for keeping strong. We thank you for being with us in spirit and in prayers,” Dr Oluga added.

GOVERNORS NOT PRESENT

Doctors were represented by a seven-member delegation led by the chairman, Dr Samuel Oroko, Dr Oluga and a legal representative.

Conspicuously absent from the meeting was the council of governors, the body that employs more than 80 per cent of the health workers.

On Christmas Eve, the union officials, led by their secretary-general, met more than 100 doctors from Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Tana River and Lamu counties, and told he Head of State to end the health crisis that has affected public hospitals in the country.

On Wednesday, the union officials said that they have not called the strike off yet, insisting they had been given a similar offer before.

Ouma Oluga

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Dentists and Pharmacists Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General Ouma Oluga (center), and other officials, addresses the media concerning the strike on December 31, 2016. They met with the president to discuss a deal. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Even then, senior doctors are apportioning blame on the President and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the long strike and the anguish it has caused majority Kenyans who rely on public hospitals.

Prof Lukoye Atwoli of the Kenya Medical Association said: “The government, and the President should apologise to the people who lost relatives they will never get back and those whose health deteriorated during the strike.”

Prof Atwoli, who is also the dean of the school of medicine at Moi University, took offence at the President’s activities of launching medical equipment and other health-related projects as the strike went on.

“It is callous and an attitude of apathy towards the health of the people of this country,” he said.

SOCIAL MEDIA

In June 2013, the national government, in the presence of then officials of the doctors’ union — secretary-general Sultani Matendechere and a neutral negotiator, Mr Fred Mwango — signed the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The CBA, offered the medics, among other things, 100 per cent salary increase for the least paid doctor, about 75 per cent for the highest paid doctor, bearable working conditions and other human resource concerns.

Peculiarly enough, the President’s social media accounts made no mention about this meeting.

Instead, he posted about his encounter with Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Nigerian Special Envoy and Minister of Solid Minerals Development, and that Nigeria had pledged to support Ambassador Amina’s candidature for the African Union Commission Chairperson position.

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