NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 26 – Nairobi doctors have called off their strike after signing a return to work formula with their employers – the Nairobi County government and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
The deal was inked on Wednesday, in the middle of City Hall Way after roads around were closed and motorists diverted. They had been on strike for a week.
Confusion and uncertainty had preceded the inking of the deal with the medics at one point accusing their employers of editing the agreement, sparking protests from officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU).
“We thank doctors for standing up for their rights and saying enough is enough and I think this will be a lesson not only to Nairobi doctors but to all doctors at large because other counties in the country are facing the same problems,” the union Chairman Deogracious Maero said.
The doctors’ strike, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was threatening to cause a medical crisis if left to persist.
“This is a lesson to doctors out there that they need to stand up for their rights and demand for it,” he said.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Services Deputy Director-General Robinson Thuku who was overseeing the talks assured the medics that contents of the return to work formula will be implemented fully.
“For us, as NMS ours is ensuring that Nairobi residents are served and now that we have agreed on these issues I want to ask the doctors that they need to play their part and offer services to the city residents as you are required to do so,” he said.
Following the deal, the medics will now be able to be fully covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) from September 4, with the NMS committing in writing to undertake any medical expenses incurred by the Doctors until the cover takes effects.
The county government also agreed to pay the doctors all their salaries and arrears by September through facilitation by the NMS.
Further, the medics were also assured that pending promotions will be effected.
NMS also committed to provide a constant supply of quality personal protective equipment to safeguard medics from dangers of COVID-19 infections.
The agreement will also see four medical consultants who were hired by the Nairobi County government and went unpaid for 26 months paid their arrears.