Doctors offer to mediate in talks between striking nurses and governors

Doctors’ union officials have volunteered to play the role of arbitrators in the ongoing nurses’ strike that has paralyzed operations in public hospitals.

Chair to the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Dr Samuel Oroko said they will be getting in touch with both the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Council of Governors (CoG) this week in a bid to bring the two sides together.

Oroko said it is wrong for the National Government through the Ministry of Health to keep off the talks yet it is still the only body responsible for providing healthcare.

While MoH made it clear that the issue on nurses’ strike is under the county bosses, there have been only two meetings between the nurses and CoG which have so far not given room for constructive negotiations.

The push and pull is over the actual cost of the pay deal that nurses union secretary general Maurice Opetu insists is Sh7.25 billion while governors say it is Sh4.3 billion hence too expensive for their budgets.

Some 26,000 nurses in public health facilities across the county have been on strike for 60 days now demanding for the government to honour their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) containing a revised pay package for the medics.

“We want to mediate between KNUN and the government to see if they can get what they bargained for in the CBA,” said Oroko.

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Oroko criticized the top political leadership for concentrating more on their campaigns while a majority of Kenyans cannot access primary health care.

He said demands made by medics are not just about salaries but to ensure that welfare of all Kenyans is taken care of.

“The ministry of health cannot run away from provision of healthcare. It still its responsibility so they should stop this rhetoric that health is devolved,” said Oroko.

The doctors’ union chair was speaking during a medical camp in Langata Women Prisons on Sunday where together with other health service providers they provided free medical services to prisoners.

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