NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has blamed the current strike by doctors in county hospitals on the Nairobi County Government.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Tuesday, the union’s Nairobi Branch Secretary General Thuranira Kaugiria said City Hall had failed to fully implement a return-to-work formula it signed with the doctors last month.
According to Kaugiria, the county had betrayed the goodwill by doctors who agreed to call off the strike after they sealed an agreement with City Hall.
“When it came to the 7th October when the deadline of the agreement had reached, the county government had not fulfilled anything. It is at that point that the union issued a strike notice in reference to the agreement we had reached earlier,” said Kaugiria.
The Secretary General faulted a directive issued by the County Secretary Robert Ayisi ordering the striking medics to return to work immediately or risk losing their jobs, saying that the union will not be intimidated.
In a statement dated October 24, 2016, Ayisi said that the county had fulfilled four key issues contained in last month’s return to work agreement which include issuance of 53 appointment letters and promotion of a similar number of medical officers in job groups M and N.
The County Secretary also noted in the statement that City Hall had confirmed the appointment of 37 medical officers and effected the inclusion of doctors missing in the payroll and paid their arrears in full to the tune of Sh34 million.
Ayisi’s position has however been dismissed by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union which has questioned why 86 doctors who had successfully served a probation period of six months were yet to be issued with appointment letters as agreed in the September return to work formula.
According to the Secretary General of the union’s Nairobi Branch, the county had acted in total disregard of the schemes of service guidelines while promoting the 53 doctors.
“The County Government promoted 53 doctors to the wrong job groups completely,” read part of the statement by the union.
Kaugiria called upon the county government to stop issuing threats to the striking doctors and instead address the issues raised by the union saying the issues raised were valid.
He argues that it was on the basis of the 10-point return to work formula signed in September between the county and the union that the parties agreed to drop the cases pending in court. He argued that the violation of the agreement by the county prompted doctors to down their tools to demand for their rights.
“The problem with county governments is instead of them sorting out the issues that affect doctors, the best thing they do is rush to courts. Courts will not solve our issues,” said Kaugiria.
The strike by doctor in county hospitals has had ripple effects on other medical facilities with Kenyatta National Hospital bearing the burden as patients who cannot afford private medical care seek medical services in the referral hospital.
County hospitals in neighbouring counties are also said to be bearing the brunt as the stalemate in Nairobi County health facilities continues.
City Hall has threatened to advertise for the recruitment of new doctors in the event that the union fails to call off the strike.