KMPDU says won't bow to pressure from MoH, governors to call off doctors' strike

KMPDU says won't bow to pressure from MoH, governors to call off doctors' strike

KMPDU Secretary-General Davji Atellah addresses a meeting of the union’s national officials in Kirinyaga County on April 1, 2024. | PHOTO: Johnson Muriithi/Citizen Digital

As the nationwide doctors’ strike persists, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Davji Atellah has maintained that they will not resume work until their demands are honoured.

Addressing a meeting of the union’s national officials in Kirinyaga on Monday, Atellah accused the Ministry of Health, led by Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, and county governments of intimidating doctors through threats they will be fired.

“Nobody should think they are more important or more Kenyan than us so that we can be stopped from fighting for our rights. As leaders, we are ready for anything… until they implement the CBA,” the KMPDU leader said.

Last week, the Council of Governors (COG) Chairperson Anne Waiguru gave county governments the liberty to take disciplinary action against doctors who do not return to work soon.

Waiguru, who is also the Kirinyaga governor, said medics have to exercise goodwill and return to work per their oath to protect life.

But Atellah on Monday said they are ready “to lose everything” in the fight for doctors’ employment terms. He said they will not bow to pressure from county governments.

“There is no rule in Kirinyaga that is not there in all the other places in Kenya,” he said. “We will not watch as this CBA is trampled upon and mutilated by the minister or governors.”

Among the governors who have threatened action on striking doctors is Nairobi’s Johnson Sakaja, who on March 21 gave a 12-hour ultimatum for doctors to resume work but was nonetheless ignored.

CS Nakhumicha has also previously threatened to sack medics on strike, saying in a television interview on March 20: “They have been ordered by the court to suspend the strike; choices have consequences.”

Kenya’s public health sector is in the middle of a crisis amid a doctors’ strike which entered its nineteenth day on Monday.

Doctors have downed their tools since March 14 in protest of the government’s failure to post medical interns and the health ministry’s non-adherence to the medics’ 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Talks between the doctors' union and the Health ministry have been unfruitful as medics accuse the government of non-compliance with the court's directives.

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