By NJ Correspondent:
Thousands of Kenyan doctors have agreed to end 100-day strike that paralyzed public hospitals and resume operation after wrapping deal with government.
Doctors went on strike in December last year after the government failed to meet their call for a pay hike of 300 percent.
Government and union officials have been in meetings to address the matter since December but remained fruitless till Tuesday when an agreement was reached.
Over 5000 Kenyan doctors’ union have a signed a deal to address their demanded pay increase, but it’s not clear how much of their demands were meet.
“Our biggest achievement in the agreement is that doctors will work only 40 hours in a week and extra hours will be compensated. Formerly doctors in working public hospitals were call at all times,” said Dr Ouma Oluga, secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union.
He added that Kenya’s public doctors who train at universities for six years, earn a basic salary of just kshs 40,000-85000 a month, terming miserable.
He said the agreement was a win-win for everybody.
Kenya’s Health Minister Cleopa Mailu said that it is regrettable that deal took so long to solve. Dozens of people died during the strike as majority of Kenyans cannot afford private health care. We cannot gauge the magnitude of pain which Kenyans felt in the 100 days’ strike.
The Doctors strike was triggered by the government denial on the implementation of a 2013 collective bargaining agreement that devoted the government to increase salaries and refurbish devastated public health facilities. Doctors have since pushed for the implementation of the agreement taking 100-days strike.
The government has on Friday threatened doctors to resume work or face disciplinary action such as sucking them as they dubbed their strike illegal.
The Kenyan government on Friday started cracking the whip on the striking doctors by sucking them en masse for missing work without reason and taking part in an illegal strike.
Kenya’s University lecturers have also been on strike similarly demanding pay hike and paralyzed learning.
Both strikes come when the country is preparing for August elections and the ruling Jubilee party administration is facing fierce criticisms over corruption allegations in the ministry of Health, National Youth Service (NYS) and Eurobond as they seek for a re-election bid.