, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – The country’s 47 County Governments have finally penned a Recognition Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreement with doctors in a move that has been hailed as a new beginning for the health sector.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) Secretary General Ouma Oluga said that the union is ready to partner with stakeholders with the aim to improve service delivery.
“We all want a better health sector and a better health sector is one that responds to us. So as I represent the doctors the ultimate objective is that when my mother goes to a hospital her pain and suffering is alleviated; that is what every single Kenyan wants.”
“Health is one of those issues that do not have political sides because we all want our suffering loved ones to get the best care,” he said.
Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok joined KMPPDU Chairman Samuel Oroko in calling for dialogue to resolve issues affecting the sector, adding that the signing of the deal should initiate constructive engagement to better the provision of healthcare in the country.
They further appealed to the National Treasury to avail funds on time to facilitate the efficient implementation of the historic deal which comes a month after the doctors signed another CBA with the National Government.
“During this meeting we discussed and mutually agreed on a collaborative framework between the Union, CoG and the County Governments and this will champion the improvement in the health sector moving forward. We recognised the renewed focus on the realisation of healthcare reforms in Kenya, hence our good relationship and collaboration in the implementation of the Health Act,” said the CoG Chairman.
The CBA seeks to improve basic pay and other allowances for medical staff in public hospital and follows the return to work formula which ended their 100-day strike.
At the same time, officials of the KMPPDU have offered to mediate negotiations between the Council of Governors and striking nurses.
KMPPDU Chairman Oroko called on their nursing colleagues to embrace dialogue as an avenue to resolve issues affecting the sector.
“We understand that our sister union, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), are on strike. I was joking the other day that, my team is of age to be given a certificate of mediators. I must say that through the mediation process my team has learnt a lot and this is free services, the county government can borrow to mediate an ending to the crisis they are now facing; and we are ready to offer the services,” Oroko stated.
Nanok welcomed the gesture and urged the KNUN to resume talks as they await for the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to approve a draft proposal of Sh40.3 billion.
“Since we did not receive a no objection to that agreement, it meant that negotiations had to continue. So we hope that the nurses union will see the sense in calling off the strike and to return back to the negotiation table, so that we can come back and agree on a way forward and then in a give and take spirit, we can be able to arrive at an agreement that can be able to move us forward,” Nanok explained.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, who chairs the Council of Governors’ Health Committee, said they had agreed with the nurses’ union that approval must first be sought.
The nurses’ strike clocked a month Wednesday with the care-givers vowing not to return to work until the signing and implementation of their CBA by the CoG and the SRC.