Doctors rejected KSh2.4bn State offer on hiring of interns

The medics on Wednesday maintained that unless the government addressed all their grievances they will not report to work
Doctors rejected KSh2.4bn State offer on hiring of interns

Kenya’s health crisis has deepened after doctors rejected a government offer to call off strike in what is set to prolong the pain of patients into the fourth week.

The medics on Wednesday maintained that unless the government addressed all their grievances they will not report to work, a day after the government said it had released KSh2.4 billion to hire interns.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court on Wednesday ordered doctors to suspend the strike that has since entered its 22nd day and give room for negotiations.

Justice Byram Ongaya ordered that the negotiations be completed within fourteen days and that the parties be back in court on 17 April.

The strike notice remains suspended and the nation approach is to be completed in the next fourteen days and the parties to report back in court,” Justice Ongaya said. The nation approach is being driven by the government and it includes counties and other stakeholders.

He also ordered that the Council of Governors compile and file in court the staffing gaps in hospitals.

Let us know the gaps in our hospitals, which health care workers are available and what is the number or we will just be talking about minimal services which are not there,” he said.

However, the doctors have said they are not calling off the strike until the government and governors comply with their demands.

Davji Atellah, the secretary-general of Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) said the money that the government claimed to have released for intern doctors was meant for all the medical interns. “This was impunity of the highest order, you cannot purport to have released KSh2.4 billion for the intern doctors yet you have reduced their salaries by 91%. This is utter contempt. We will not entertain this,” Dr Davji said.

Head of Public Service Felix Koskei announced the release of KSh2.4 billion to facilitate the deployment of intern doctors.

Dr Atellah said for the government to release money following the guidelines issued by the SRC, they have reduced the internship pay by 91%. “For them to be paid as per the SRC, it means they have gone against the 2017 court order which ordered the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They are in contempt. Ideally, the budget to cover all medical interns was KSh4.8 billion and they have reduced the salaries by half,” he said.

There is a need to distinguish these junior doctors from other interns in the public service. Besides working beyond the legal limit of work hours, they endure exposure to life-threatening occupational risks,” Dr Atellah said.

A circular by the SRC dictates that medical interns, who, according to KMPDU, should earn a net salary of about KSh150,000 have been paid between KSh35,000 and KSh70,000.

The circular, effective 13 March, stated that medical officer, pharmacist and dental officer interns would be paid a stipend of between KSh47,000 and KSh70,000 while nursing officer and clinical officer interns would get between KSh35,000 and KSh50,000.


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