Pressure is mounting on Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Cleopa Mailu to resign or be sacked for his failure to end the two month old doctors’ strike that has paralyzed medical services in Kenya.
On the one hand, doctors have called for his resignation or sacking and threatened not to engage in any further negotiations with him. And, on the other hand, a blogger, Robert Alai has filed an urgent suit to compel the Government to resolve the ongoing doctors’ strike.
In his argument, Alai says that the two-month strike continues to hurt the poor by violating their constitutional right to health services. “Lives have been lost and continue to be lost due to the conduct of the Government and the doctors union officials. All have refused to think of the common people who cannot afford medical services in private hospitals,”
Efforts to end the doctors’ strike hit a major setback after the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) resolved not to engage in any negotiations with the Government if the Health Cabinet Secretary is part of it.
Doctors have laid blame on Dr Mailu, claiming he is the stumbling block to the negotiations that have to be re-started every time they stall.
The doctors said the CS drafted a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and forced them to sign only for them to realize all the agreed clauses were missing. In the “Cleopa CBA”, the doctors said, the salaries drafted in were Shs196,000 for the lowest paid and Shs481,000 for the highest paid which “ were a far cry from the Shs325,000 for the lowest paid and Shs852,000 for the highest paid demanded by doctors.”
“We no longer want to engage with Mailu. It is either he resigns or he is sacked. But we cannot negotiate with people who have partisan interests,” said KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga
The doctors are demanding, among other things, a call room, equipping of health facilities and provision of security and compensation for the extra hours given.
The doctors who are on a five day one month jail term contempt of court sentence, called for a mediator in the talks.
Further, the doctors want all sessions of the negotiations to be before the public for transparency.