Government Spokesman Mwaura Claims Doctors’ Strike Meant To Sabotage SHIF

April 5, 2024

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), representing more than 7,000 healthcare professionals, has been on strike since mid-march, demanding the settlement of unpaid salaries and the swift recruitment of intern doctors.

This has crippled medical services across public hospitals, bringing about a health crisis around the country.

Despite the government extending a Ksh.2.4 billion olive branch to mitigate the standoff, the union rejected the offer, maintaining that it falls short of the expectations set by the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura, in a press briefing held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on Thursday, highlighted the government’s perplexity over the doctors’ refusal to cease their strike action despite these conciliatory gestures.

Mwaura then made remarks alleging that there are more sinister driving forces behind the strike than appears on the surface. He claimed that the strike is politically motivated, to undermine the rollout of the Social Health Act and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programmes.

“It only leads to one conclusion that they may be a political motive in sabotaging the Social Health Act and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC)…there’s no other way you can explain that,” Mwaura stated.

He however repeated the government’s determination to resolving the contentious issues prompting the strike, with negotiations already in progress.

The government has not only presented a Ksh.2.4 billion package but also proposed funds for postgraduate training and has shown a willingness to renegotiate the CBA.

“We have already given the Ksh.2.4 billion there is money for postgraduate training, we have agreed to negotiate again the CBA,” he said, outlining the structured approach to address the 19 identified issues, with six earmarked for national attention and nine for county governments.

Mwaura further reassured the public of the government’s commitment to enhancing healthcare services, emphasizing cooperation between national and county governments to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

“The Kenyan government in collaboration with the county government is committed to the realisation of UHC and will continue to work together with KMPDU to ensure that all stakeholders promote the highest standards of healthcare,” he stated.

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