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Crisis looms in Kisumu, Nyamira as medics down their tools

Tuesday February 25 2020

KMPDU

Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentist Union Nyanza branch Chairman Kevin Osuri (right) and Secretary General Lameck Omweri (left) lead union members in a past press conference at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

RUSHDIE OUDIA
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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RUTH MBULA
By RUTH MBULA
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Health sectors in Kisumu and Nyamira are staring at a crisis following disputes over wages between medics and the counties.

In Kisumu, a strike by the medical staff entered its fifth day yesterday as Governor Anyang' Nyong'o's administration kicked off a five-day headcount to rid its payroll of ghost workers and manage the ballooning wage bill.

A salary delay in the county has incensed health workers even as the administration sets up a mechanism to pay workers through cheques. The medics have vowed to remain on strike until all of them are paid.

"Until all of us are paid we will not go to work. By Monday only a tenth of us had received their salaries through cheques while many are yet to be paid," said Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary-general Craus Okumu. In Nyamira, doctors have issued a 14-day strike notice citing failure by the administration to honour the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Local Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials vowed to push ahead with the strike if no steps are taken in two week’s time to resolve the issue.

KMPDU Nyanza branch secretary Dr Lameck Omweri said the county had reneged on its commitment and was being “insincere and deceitful.”

“We, therefore, demand the full implementation of the CBA,” said Dr Omweri.

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The doctors are demanding backdated promotions of all doctors to their rightful job groups.

They are accusing the county government of breaching the CBA and failing to pay withheld salaries.

“We remain available for dialogue within the given 14 days,” said the doctors in their notice.

County Health Executive Douglas Bosire said they have scheduled a meeting with the doctors Wednesday and are hopeful they will reach an agreement.

“We are in talks with the doctors and we will meet tomorrow for further discussions,” said Mr Bosire.

In 2018, the doctors paralysed the public health sector for three months.

The region's County Referral Hospital was hard hit by the medics’ boycott.

Patients in need of dialysis and other specialised services had to travel to the neighbouring Kisii county for the life-saving services.