State locks horns with doctors over pay demand

November 29, 2011 4:05 pm


Asst Minister Kambi Kazungu/ FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – The government has ruled out any immediate review of doctors’ pay and allowances until after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission is established.

Medical Services Assistant Minister Kambi Kazungu told Parliament on Tuesday that the ministry had resolved to wait until the new salaries team is set up for it to begin negotiations.

He said the Treasury was yet to respond to a proposal that was submitted last Friday after talks with the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KPMDU).

“I cannot say the exact figure we have agreed. Everything must go to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. We share the concerns of the doctors, and we’re trying to minimise their pain and maximise the pleasure,” the assistant minister told Parliament.

The President last week forwarded the names of nominees to sit in the commission to the House for vetting.

The KPMDU has threatened to paralyse operations in all public health facilities in the county from December 5 unless their grievances are addressed.

MPs Eseli Simiyu (Kimilili), Robert Monda (Nyaribari Chache), and Clement Wambugu (Mathioya) castigated the government for treating the strike threat casually.

“It’s very sad that the minister can stand here and tell us that he is paying a medical doctor Sh30,000 per month. What are you bringing to the table?” posed Eseli.

Parliament’s Health Committee Chairman Monda lamented that the number of newly trained doctors was almost equal to the number that had exited the service in search of better employment.

He accused the government of frustrating negotiations, saying that since 2006 the government has been on the negotiating table.

Kambi assured the MPs of a solution saying that he had brought the matter to the attention of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

“He agreed that we should continue with dialogue and I am sure something will come up. We passed the proposals to the Ministry of Public Service which has already passed their recommendations to the Ministry of Finance; our hands are tied because the money comes from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry has not approved yet,” said Kazungu.

The over 2,000 unionisable doctors in public hospitals are demanding a 300 percent salary increase and hardship allowances. They are also demanding higher budgetary allocations to the health sector to equip hospitals better.


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