Doctors to press on with strike, says union boss
Alvin Mwangi and George Kebaso
Striking Nairobi doctors have said they are ready to call off their strike if their demands are met.
Kenya Medical Practitioners Doctors and Dentists Union (KMPDU) yesterday said that they will only resume work if the Nairobi County Public Service Board (NCPSB) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) give an undertaking that they will provide a comprehensive insurance cover to doctors under the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and promote more than 200 doctors.
KMPDU Nairobi Branch Secretary General Thuranira Kuagiria said he was empathetic to the suffering of patients caused by the paralysis and called on the authorities to resolve their issues quickly to avert more suffering.
“Unless doctors are covered by insurance and a waiver issued on promotions then the strike will go on,” said Thuranira.
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Deputy Director General Robinson Thuku said they are in discussions with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) on the comprehensive medical cover for the doctors, promising the issue will be sorted out by the end of this month.
“It is work in progress as we have received a proposal from the NHIF and we have already engaged our human resource department to look into what is needed,” said Thuku.
The Nairobi County Public Service Board promised to write a letter to the Public Service Commission today (Tuesday) regarding waiver on promotions.
The Board also pointed out that they have already shown commitment to addressing the grievances by promoting 100 out of 320 doctors promising to clear with the remaining ones.
“The remaining are doctors who need to be promoted through a competitive process as they need to progress through the established cadres,” said the board’s acting chairman Thomas Kasoa.
The doctors downed their tools last week on Friday protesting poor terms of service.
“What we want are rightful promotions and not only for a certain cadre. Let people be promoted equally depending on their paper,” said Kaugiria.
The union also revealed the plight of five specialists at Mama Lucy Hospital who have not been paid for the last 26 months.
Acting County Secretary Justus Kathenge said investigations are being conducted to establish how the specialists came to the county.
Thuranira stated that the DCI had cleared the specialists and despite writing to the county board on the issue, nothing has been addressed.
“DCI cleared the doctors a year ago and I have written four letters to the county on the issue but still no response,” he said.
However, Majority leader Abdi Hassan urged that they wait for the genuine letters from DCI for action to be taken.
“The issues will be sorted once the contents of the letters clearing the specialists are availed and confirmed,” he said.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General, Maj-Gen Mohamed Badi have appealed to the workers to resume duty and give dialogue a chance.