Khalwale Offers Help to End Doctors’ Strike Amidst Growing Crisis

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Khalwale Offers Help to End Doctors’ Strike Amidst Growing Crisis

Senator Boni Khalwale of Kakamega has offered to lead a delegation of medical professionals to the State House for a brainstorming session with the government aimed at resolving the impasse on the doctors’ strike, which entered its 26th day on Monday with no signs of ending soon.

Khalwale stated that the unfolding doctors’ strike presents a significant health crisis that cannot be ignored.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has rejected the government’s offer of Sh2.4 billion to facilitate the immediate deployment and posting of the 2023/24 cohort of medical interns, citing delayed postings among the grievances that led to the strike on March 14, 2024.

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KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah stated on Sunday that they will not back down on their demands for salaries, allowances, and comprehensive medical cover as agreed upon in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2017.

This stance was in response to President William Ruto’s call for the medics to accept the government’s offer and return to work, emphasizing that “we cannot continue to spend the money we don’t have.” Atellah emphasized that despite government pressure, doctors’ salaries anchored on the CBA are non-negotiable and that they won’t compromise on fair compensation for their hard work.

He criticized the targeting of doctors for wage bill control while state officers enjoy hefty paychecks.

The government has proposed to pay the 1,500 medical interns a Sh70,000 monthly stipend for one year, after which they would be employed.

Senator Khalwale expressed optimism on Monday that a solution to the stalemate could be found if the State House accepts his offer and allows his team of preferred mediators to brainstorm.

His team includes Seme MP James Nyikal and his Endebess counterpart Robert Purkose. Khalwale described Nyikal as a former director of Medical Services and one of the most brilliant medical minds in Kenya, and Purkose as a former medical superintendent.

He believes that their combined medico-political experience, along with Dr. Patrick Amoth, the Director-General of Health, can inform the way forward.

In 2017, doctors staged a 100-day strike, the longest in the country’s history, demanding better wages and the restoration of dilapidated public health facilities.

The current strike stems from the non-implementation of the CBA signed to end the 2017 strike.

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Khalwale Offers Help to End Doctors’ Strike Amidst Growing Crisis

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