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Doctors to assess State's pay deal to end strike

Thursday January 5 2017

Ouma Oluga

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga (centre), accompanied by other union officials, addresses the media concerning the doctors' strike on December 31, 2016. Union officials met with the president to discuss how to end the strike. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The government has offered doctors a pay hike of more than 40 per cent to end their month-long strike.

In an offer announced from State House In Mombasa after a day-long meeting between doctors’ union officials and President Uhuru Kenyatta, the least-paid doctor would take home a monthly salary of Sh196,989, up from the current Sh140,244.

The statement said the pay rise includes allowances offered to the doctors in various job groups.

The meeting came after doctors called on the President to "exercise his executive authority as the 'highest office in the land"' and end the strike.

After the six-hour meeting, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga said they appreciated the President’s efforts.

"We have not reached any agreement, but we thank the President for convening the meeting.

"He was concerned about our issues and we talked at length. We had a fruitful engagement and we appreciated there are challenges," Dr Oluga said.

He added: “We will have to discuss with our members...what they offered is outside the [collective bargaining agreement],” he added.

"We shall reconvene on Friday at 10am at Treasury to continue with engagements.

"We thank you for keeping strong. We thank you for being with us in spirit and in prayers," Dr Oluga added.


Doctors were represented by a seven-member delegation, led by the chairman, Dr Samuel Oroko, Dr Oluga and a legal representative.

Conspicuously absent from the meeting was the Council of Governors, the body that employs more than 80 per cent of the health workers.

On Christmas Eve, union officials, led by their secretary-general, met more than 100 doctors from Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Tana River and Lamu counties, and urged President Kenyatta to end the health crisis that has affected public hospitals in the country.

On Wednesday, the officials said they had not called off the strike yet, insisting they had been given a similar offer before.

Even then, senior doctors are blaming the President and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the long strike and the anguish it has caused among Kenyans who rely on public hospitals.

Prof Lukoye Atwoli of the Kenya Medical Association said: “The government, and the President should apologise to the people who lost relatives they will never get back and those whose health deteriorated during the strike.”

Prof Atwoli, who is also the dean of the Moi University School of Medicine, took offence when the President launched medical equipment and other health-related projects as the strike went on.

"It is callous and an attitude of apathy towards the health of the people of this country," he said.


In June 2013, the national government, in the presence of then officials of the doctors’ union — secretary-general Sultani Matendechere and a neutral negotiator, Fred Mwango — signed the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The CBA, offered the medics, among other things, a 100 per cent salary increase for the least-paid doctor, about 75 per cent for the highest-paid doctor and bearable working conditions and other human resource concerns.

Curiously, the President’s social media accounts made no mention of Wednesday's meeting in Mombasa.

Instead, he posted about his encounter with Kayode Fayemi, the Nigerian special envoy and minerals minister, pointing out that Nigeria had pledged to support Foreign Affairs minister Amina Mohamed’s candidature for the African Union Commission chairperson's position.