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Patients’ agony to end as services in public hospitals resume

Services in public hospitals will resume from Wednesday morning ending patients’ agony and deaths that have marked the last 100 days.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union officially called off the strike on Tuesday at 6pm in Nairobi.

The announcement was made after the union officials, the Health ministry and Council of governors came to an agreement and signed a return-to-work formula.

Before signing the agreement, Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya, and other governors, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri and clergy men had prepared to issue a press statement on their final decision on the doctors’ strike by 4.30pm.

However, union officials walked into the room and said they had not seen the documents the county bosses had prepared for signing.

After an hour’s wait, they emerged from the meeting and put pen to paper.

WITHDRAW DISMISSAL LETTERS

In the document, the parties agreed that the health workers will not be victimised for participating in the strike that lasted for more than three months.

They also agreed that the county and national governments will withdraw all letters of dismissal and show cause issued to some of the doctors for refusing to resume duty.
They also agreed that monies will be paid effective January 1, 2017.

The parties have also agreed to withdraw all pending cases.

Mr Munya said counties were ready to restore health services and work with doctors.
“I hope everyone now understands that health is a devolved function and therefore no one will be used to try to reverse the sector using industrial actions,” said the chairman.

Mr Munya said all the 47 county governments will engage doctors in their counties to agree on CBAs which will be deposited in court.

AMICABLE SOLUTION

Dr Mailu said the 100 days of the strike will remain “like black days in Kenya’s history and in the medical field”.

“We are happy that at the end we have reached an amicable solution,” said Dr Mailu.

Union secretary-general Ouma Oluga said: “This has been a painful issue for the country, however, the plight of patients is as equal as the plight of doctors.”

Meanwhile, doctors, the Health ministry and governors are expected to file a jointly signed return-to-work formula as well as a consent in court.

Appellate judges issued the directive on Tuesday.

Earlier, Mr Waigi Kamau, for the State, had said the government was engaged in preparing a joint draft which the Health ministry, the governors and doctors as well as mediators involved in efforts aimed at ending the strike were expected to sign before the end of the day.

“I have been informed probably before mid-day the document will be complete, parties are willing to sign, then it will be filed in the afternoon,” said the lawyer.

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