January 2017 BusinessDaily;
Doctors’ strike, now in its 47th day, has taken a new turn with the medical students joining the fray, piling pressure on county governments to seek an amicable solution.
University students matched from Kenyatta National Hospital to the Ministry of Education offices and ParliamentBuildings demanding quick end to the standoff.
Through their umbrella organisations — Medical Students’ Association of Kenya (MSAKE) — the students said the county and national governments did have an option but to “take doctors’ grievances seriously since we are also deprived of the right to education”.
“We stand in firm solidarity with all doctors, dentists and pharmacists as represented by the medics’ union in their quest for the full implementation of the June 2013 signed collective bargaining agreement,” read the statement.
“We can no longer continue to be in our institutions while there are no doctors who are our primary instructors and lecturers.”
The students said quality of training without doctors — consequently their future practice in providing healthcare — was being compromised in the absence of clinical apprenticeship.
The lobby group also urged the government to consider revising its current stance in regards to placement of graduate doctors as medical officer Interns.
“We shall therefore stop all academic activity and engage in peaceful demonstrations to affirm our solidarity with our senior colleagues,” said the university students.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union secretary-general, Ouma Oluga said the doctors rejected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 40 per cent pay raise offer “since the June 2013 CBA has other bigger issues such medical internship”.
Doctors want the government to meet their needs, including annual training of specialist doctors, research funding and internship programmes, besides a 300 per cent salary increase.
The pay offer President Kenyatta made to the doctors when he met their representatives at State House in Mombasa early January, would see the least-paid doctor take home Sh196,989 monthly up from the current Sh140,244.
The proposed pay increase includes allowances due to the doctors in various job groups.