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DEMAND IMPLEMENTATION OF CBA

Doctors strike spells danger for Mandera hospitals

Health executive says department is ready for talks, wants officers to resume work

In Summary

• They complained of poor working conditions, overdue promotions and failure to allow them to pursue postgraduate studies.

• Executive Eda says his department has met some of their demands after improving the working conditions. 

Mandera Health executive Mohammed Eda last week
Mandera Health executive Mohammed Eda last week
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Services in Mandera hospitals have been disrupted for the fifth day as doctors stay away from work.

The medics began their strike last Thursday, accusing the county government of failing to implement the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2017.

They complained of poor working conditions, overdue promotions and failure to allow them to pursue postgraduate studies. Their union leaders had issued a two-week notice. The county government did not yield to their demands.

Health executive Mohamed Eda wants the officers to resume work. He said on Sunday his department has met some of their demands after improving the working conditions and termed the strike illegal. 

“We regret that a section of doctors has gone on strike, despite the administration offering pay packages way above the demands of the collective bargain agreement. The county government, in recognition of the service need, placed all recruited doctors in higher job groups compared to the rest of the 46 counties,” he said in a statement to the media, adding they are ready for negotiations. 

“We find their demands unreasonable, unrealistic and calculated to sabotage health service delivery in Mandera.”

Eda downplayed the strike, saying public hospitals are running normally. He urged residents not to fear seeking services.

A day earlier, however, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists  Union on Saturday said its members will stay put. Mandera secretary general Ibrahim Noor accused the county government of not honouring its promise. The doctors are ready to go the whole hog to get their grievances resolved. If a settlement is not reached, a protracted battle could spell doom for the sector.

The situation could worsen as other health workers plan to join their colleagues on strike should the county administration fail to meet their demands.

The executive, however, said they are ready for further negotiations and “committed to meeting our side of the bargain to ensure all residents enjoy uninterrupted services in our health facilities”.

(Edited by F'Orieny)