Health workers plan to begin strike Tuesday

Sunday December 08 2013

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists' Union (KMPDU) members protest at the Provincial General Hospital Nakuru on December 4, 2013. Health workers have threatened to go on strike from Tuesday over plans to devolve their services. PHOTO/SULEIMAN MBATIAH | FILE

By Joy Wanja Muraya

Health workers have threatened to go on strike from Tuesday over plans to devolve their services.

They said they would embark on the boycott if they fail to reach consensus with the 47 governors, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and other officials from the Transitional Authority at a meeting to be held Monday.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, the Kenya Health Professionals Union (KHPU), the Kenya National Union of Nurses and the Union of Kenya Clinical Officers (UKCO) said they were disappointed for being labelled ‘saboteurs of devolution’ yet they were calling for a systematic way to address the management of health workers.

The unions said they were willing to enter into dialogue with the government but if they failed to reach any meaningful agreement, they would down tools at all public health facilities until their concerns were addressed.

Last week, the health professionals issued a seven-day strike notice in their push to be moved back to the central government. They argued that the county governments were not best suited to run the health docket.

The notice, which ends Monday, will see the country’s public health sector driven into a crisis if the trade unions fail to reach an agreement with the government at Monday’s meeting at the Kenya Institute of Administration.


“We are not against working in the counties because that’s where most of us are based but matters touching on our salaries, training, transfers, promotions and even retirement should remain with the national government until a systematic structure is put in place in the county government,” said KHPU secretary-general Moses Lorre.

“Health workers who do not originate from particular counties have been rejected and sent back to the Ministry of Health for redeployment,” UKCO chairman George Gibore said in a statement.