NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 March 2017 – The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has called off their members 100-day strike after signing a return-to-work agreement with the Council of Governors and the Ministry of Health.
With the signing of the agreement, doctors will receive an additional Doctors’ Allowance formerly called Emergency Call Allowance dependable on the Job Group plus a new Medical Risk Allowance of KSh20,000 per month, backdated to January 1, 2017.
Following the deal the all the ongoing Court cases at the Court of Appeal and the Employment and Labor Relations Court shall be withdrawn and no doctor will be victimized or subjected to disciplinary action for participating in the strike, which began on 5 December 2016.
When calling off the strike on Tuesday, KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Ouma Oluga commended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts and all the other parties which have been involved in the industrial action negotiations and regretted that Kenyans have borne the brunt of the strike and it is now good the strike has come to an end.
“It has not just been difficult for people sitting here but for those who are not sitting here. That is the Kenyans who needed the doctors the most. We would not wish the country to experience this again. The strike has come to an end. The strike is hereby called off,” he announced.
Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Cleopa Mailu noted that the government shall work towards restoring normalcy within the public health facilities as quickly as possible. He added that the government shall stay true to the agreement in order to ensure that Kenyans continued accessing health services uninterrupted.
Dr. Mailu further expressed appreciation for the President’s intervention and ensuring that a generous offer was extended to the doctors. He also lauded the Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Central Organization of Trade Unions and the Inter-religious Council for working towards ending the strike.
“It is however regrettable that it took so long and we cannot begin to fathom the extent of the pain that Kenyans have suffered. Those 100 days will remain black days in the history of medicine in this country and that is not a record we want to keep. We are happy that in the end we have reached an amicable solution to bring pain to an end,” he said.
The Council of Governors, Chairman Governor Peter Munya added that the return-to-work agreement shall give the negotiating parties time to resolve the other outstanding issues while doctors’ services resume.
He however asked the doctors to exercise restraint and take the country’s whole interests into account while negotiating for their terms. He further reminded Kenyans that health was a fully devolved function and that it will require a constitutional amendment to reverse this function.
“We hope that it won’t happen again because this country is bigger than us. I also thank the Cabinet Secretary, his team and the Council of Governors for sticking together and working these issues out. If we had been divided, we would not be where we are now,” he observed.