Doctors’ union threatens to call strike over study leave denial

Secretary General of KMPDU Ouma Oluga during a joint media briefing on Doctors and Lecutures' strike at Kenyatta Hospital on 1 Feb 2018./LANGAT K. COLLINS
Secretary General of KMPDU Ouma Oluga during a joint media briefing on Doctors and Lecutures' strike at Kenyatta Hospital on 1 Feb 2018./LANGAT K. COLLINS

The doctors’ union is at loggerheads with county bosses over what it called their reluctance to grant 275 medics an opportunity to seek specialised training.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union says it has given county governments one month to release the doctors or they will go on strike.

KMPDU secretary general Ouma Oluga yesterday said 275 doctors from across the country sought to further their studies but their employer – the counties – have failed to grant them study leave.

The doctors seek to further their studies under a government scholarship programme. The government sets aside about Sh250 million annually to cater for doctors training through scholarships to universities.

Those eligible are doctors who have been in practice for two years.

But Oluga said for two years, the funds have been lying idle. “It’s puzzling that the country is importing doctors from Cuba due to shortage of specialists and county bosses are denying those who want to further their studies to fill in these gaps an opportunity,” Oluga said.

He said the Health ministry needs to account for these funds because for two years doctors have not been funded to undertake the training.

Director of Medical Services at the Health ministry Jackson Kioko denied allegations the ministry had not released the scholarship funds in two years. Kioko said the ministry releases funds for the scholarship upon request by various medical schools.