By Dr Ali Omar
There was no deal between doctors of Kenya represented by a 7-member KMPDU delegation led by the Chairman Dr Samuel Oroko and Secretary-General Dr Ouma Oluga, and the Government of the Republic of Kenya represented by the President himself, heads of government ministries, CS National treasury Henry Rotich, the CS Health Dr Cleopa Mailu, the Chairperson of the Salaries Remuneration Commission Sarah Serem and the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission Professor Margaret Kobia.
The day-long meeting held at State house Mombasa ended at 6:00 pm. After lengthy discussions, there was no deal reached between the two parties and the Doctors Strike continues as many Kenyans continue to suffer and lives are being lost.
KMPDU General Secretary Dr Ouma Oluga said after the meeting, ‘We are grateful that we got audience from the President, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta. The meeting was attended by SRC chairperson, PSC chairperson, CEO PSC, CS Treasury, CS Health and PS Health. After lengthy discussions, we have not reached any deal. We shall reconvene on Friday at 10.00am at Treasury to continue with engagements.’
The government offered salary increment to the Doctors just like the Council of Governors did. The Government of Kenya seems not to understand what made the doctors to go on strike, Full Implementation of the CBA signed in 2013 plus arrears. That’s the bare minimum that the doctors are asking. I didn’t see the CBA being mentioned anywhere in the statement released by State house after the meeting. The Doctors are not only asking for fair remuneration of their work but a number of issues tackled in the signed CBA signed in 2013 between the Government and Doctors which up to date they have failed to honor. One way of ensuring there is a doctor all the time in our public hospitals is by increasing their number and paying them well so that they don’t run all over the place trying to make ends meet. All this is tackled in the CBA.
I remember on the Manifesto of Jubilee coalition 2013-2017, they promised to ‘Ensure Kenyans get quality and affordable healthcare’ and ‘Ensure improved pay packages for doctors and other health practitioners.’ It’s high time they walk the talk and keep their promises. With the implementation of the CBA, this can actually be realised. The President famous quote, ‘Mnataka nifanye nini jameni?’ Well, Implement the Doctors CBA Mr President and end Public healthcare crisis. The President also promised 15% of the budget to go to health, currently the percentage of the budget going to health is not even mentionable!
‘Health workers don’t only get people healthier, they keep people working and economies growing. It’s time to invest in health workers.’ – WHO. Dear Mr President, if you don’t want to listen to the Kenyan Doctor, then listen to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Government of Kenya can’t say that there is no money to pay our Doctors as witnessed by the excessive wastage and corruption in the government. It sickens me to remember all the corruption headlines, just recently our Members of Parliament awarded themselves 10 Million each to enjoy Christmas! I rest my point with that! That money can be used to sustain the Doctors demands for like 4 years and they are using that kind of money for just Christmas bonus! The President insists on limits in paying doctors but no limits in matters of government officials. Let us just cut on their Christmas bonuses to pay doctors.
My two cent is that the Government doesn’t care about the sufferings of Kenyans as per the poll results of the KTN News in which 57% of Kenyans said that the Jubilee government doesn’t care allowing the Doctors Strike to go on this long.
Until we put mechanisms to ensure that all Government officials including the President himself are treated in Public Hospitals, the state of Public Healthcare system will still remain pathetic. They are demonstrating clearly that they have no faith in Public hospitals by being treated including their families in the private hospitals and abroad.
The pressures and expectations of being a doctor are great, why should the rewards be so low? The cost of saving lives is beyond valuation, implementing the CBA is a good start Mr President.
At this point only the suffering public can push the government to pay doctors by expressing their frustration.
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