President Uhuru Kenyatta is in India for a two-day state visit whose timing suggests that it may include shopping for Indian doctors. The medical sector in Kenya is practically in shambles following a prolonged strike by doctors who are demanding implementation of a disputed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed several years ago.
The CBA gives the doctors, among other things, a 300 per cent salary increase that would see the least paid doctor earning more than Shs300,000 per month. The government insists that the agreement has been overtaken by events and should be renegotiated.
Several attempts to break the deadlock had flopped with each side holding to their position. The latest attempt was made by President Kenyatta himself who offered the doctors a 40 per cent salary increase, but the doctors again rejected the offer.
County governments have threatened to sack the doctors and replace them with “others willing to work.” And Mr. Kenyatta has, during previous strikes, threatened to hire Indian doctors to replace Kenyan ones.
Meanwhile, Kenyans continue to suffer – with some dying – as the standoff remains and the strike enters its second month, making it one of the longest in country in the medical sector.
India produces a large number of doctors, some of them among the world’s best, but most of them practically fake and unscrupulous. It is the latter variety that has created deep impressions on Kenyans.
Events of the visit
During his visit, President Uhuru will attend the inauguration of the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, as the Guest of Honor.
The central focus of the Summit is “ Sustainable Economic and Social Development”. The forum brings together heads of states and governments, ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policy makers, heads of international institutions and academia from around the world to further the cause of development and to promote cooperation.
Besides the summit, President Uhuru will also hold bilateral talks with both the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee among other top Indian Government officials.
The main areas of the bilateral talks will include collaboration in trade, healthcare, manufacturing, security, defence and Information, Communication and Technology.
President Uhuru is expected to drum up support for Kenya as an attractive destination for Indian investors especially in the area of Healthcare , a sector in which India is known for and an industry in which Kenya is keen to attract partners.
In this Regard, the President will hold further bilateral meetings with chiefs of Industry from Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Tata (the largest manufacturer in Indian Automotive Industry) and Infosys (Global leader in Technology Services and Consulting)
During the visit, President Uhuru is also scheduled to attend the Kenya-India Business forum, meet with Kenyans in India during a diaspora meeting and hold a Joint Press Conference with Mr. Modi after the meeting between the two leaders.