Striking doctors’ seek Senate intervention to end impasse

By Michael Njuguna/Kennedy Epalat

Doctors are now appealing to the Senate Health Committee to intervene and resolve the impasse that has paralyzed operations in public hospitals.

Speaking Tuesday morning when they appeared before Dr. Wilfred Machage led committee, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials asked the committee to help them so that the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is implemented.

The officials told the committee that they have tried to engage the government in a sober manner but in vain.

The officials say some of the contentious issues in the CBA are fundamental to the health sector and if implemented it will streamline the sector across the country.

On his part senator Machage maintained that the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement is illegal.

The committee is expected to meet government officials and other players including the Council of Governors later, as they work round the clock to beat the seven day deadline the court gave them to find a solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has expressed optimism that the new talks spearheaded by the Central Organization of Trade Unions COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli will resolve talks on the doctors’ strike which has failed to yield results for the last two months.

The Governor said Atwoli is seeking an amicable solution to the impasse since it is an industrial matter which can be dispensed through negotiations.

He however advised the striking medics against being defiant saying it will not resolve the stalemate, and instead swallow their pride and go to the negotiating table to help the suffering Kenyans who cannot access  specialized treatment in public hospitals.

He reminded them that the agreement they signed in 2013 had glaring anomalies, as the signatory to the agreement was not the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

He further admitted for the first time that the CBA agreement does not recognize County Governments. He noted that the current system gives doctors a lot of freedom which has impacted negatively to health services.

Citing Busia County, Ojaamong said that out of 35 doctors, 17 are on study leave of between four and five years and yet they continue drawing full salaries with no services rendered.

  

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