KENYA: Doctors union scoffs at 45 counties’ plans to hire new medics

December 2016 BusinessDaily; The doctors’ union has scoffed at the county governments’ bid to hire new doctors, dentists and pharmacists in place of the thousands who have been on strike since December 5.

The countrywide strike, which enters day 24, has paralysed services in public hospitals and resulted in tens of deaths.

Forty-five counties out of 47 advertised for the jobs yesterday, calling for applicants to fill in the positions of medical officers, senior medical officers and medical specialists in job groups M, N and P respectively.

Only two counties — Kwale and Murang’a — did not advertise for the jobs.

Other positions advertised across the counties include dental officers, senior dental officers, assistant directors of dental services, pharmacists, senior pharmacists and assistant chief pharmacists.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general, Ouma Oluga said its members are not worried since there are currently no unemployed doctors.

“Those are the kicks of a dying horse,” said Dr Oluga.

“Look around, there are no doctors with no jobs in Kenya. The advertisement is a waste of time and if they are employing because of the strike they are mistaken.”

The advertisement stated that the recruitment was in order to strengthen the capacity of the Public Service in the delivery of health services in the counties.

The positions advertised were also open to international candidates. “Interested candidates should, besides other credentials, indicate their current and expected remuneration to the chairperson county Public Service Board on or before January 14, 2017.”

Dr Oluga said, however, that by hiring “more doctors” the government would be honouring part of the July 2013 collective bargaining agreement that they signed but is yet to be implemented.

The CBA addresses, among other things, procedures on annual recruitment, promotions, transfers, resignation and termination of doctors’ contracts, better working conditions for doctors in the public sector including having facilities that are well equipped with drugs and medical supplies.

The Economic Survey 2016 shows that Kenya currently has 10,883 registered doctors and dentists up from 10,239 in 2014.Dr Oluga said that the CBA also demands that government employs 1,400 more doctors annually. The doctors’ union has more than 5,000 members.

Dr Oluga said the medical officers who the county governments could be targeting are the 700 who are finishing school and would still require to undergo a one-year internship before employment.

“We only have 700 doctors yet to finish school and have to go through compulsory internship afterwards. Even when they finish they are joining us. The government needs us and that is why they are panicking,” said Dr Oluga.



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