By Chrispinus Omar
Kenyan doctors are celebrating their victory after a 100-day
long strike, which paralyzed public health sector, saying
despite efforts to divide the striking doctors, the massive
public support for the strike led to major gains in favour of the
country’s public healthcare system.
"We did not cover
the entire distance we set out to cover, but we are now firmly
on the journey to a better public health sector.
"Better healthcare for all Kenyans," the Kenya Medical
Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) said on
Sunday in a thank you note to Kenyans.
The Kenyan doctors embarked on a strike on Dec. 5 2016 to
press the government to honor an agreement reached in 2013 for
the payment of 70 to 200 percent pay increase.
They also sought the improvement of medical facilities and
equipment at all state-owned hospitals.
The government initially declined to recognize the agreement,
saying it was signed by officials whose tenure in government had
Later, the government said the laws were changed and public
healthcare responsibilities were transferred to 47 county
governments managed by elected governors.
The doctors’ strike affected operations of nearly 6,000 state
The doctors protested the poor medical conditions patients
were being subjected to at the state hospitals.
They also decried the lack of proper medical equipment and
long hours that the patients had to wait to access treatment.
Kenyan health ministry officials initially resisted the
implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), a
document which spells out the terms of employment for
professionals who have joined a labor union, and later agreed to
renegotiate the CBA, to be signed by the 47 governors.
In Nairobi, the KMPPDU officials, Ouma Oluga,
Secretary-General and Samuel Oroko, Chairman, signed a return to
work agreement with the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu,
on March 14, to end the doctors’ strike after accepting
increases in allowances and the conclusion of a new CBA.
Kenyan government officials have reportedly been pressing on
with a plan to bring in expatriate doctors from Tanzania to fill
a shortage of skilled doctors, according to a statement issued
by the Tanzanian government.
The Kenyan government said it would hire 500 expatriate
The Tanzanian government agreed to provide the 500 doctors to
help deal with a shortage of doctors at public hospitals.
State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said on Sunday the
decision to hire the doctors was approved by the government upon
the request by the Council of Governors to reduce the
patient-to-doctors ratio in Kenya’s 47 counties, which decry the
few doctors available.
Meanwhile, the KMPPDU said it has signed a return-to-work
agreement with the Kenya’s largest referral hospital, after 104
days, to end the strike.
The hospital had earlier fired striking doctors.