Hope as President Uhuru Kenyatta sets meeting with doctors

Hope as President Uhuru Kenyatta sets meeting with doctors

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President Uhuru Kenyatta will today meet striking doctors in a bid to end their strike, which has paralyzed health services in public hospitals countrywide.

The President and other high-ranking Government officials will meet the medics at State House, Mombasa, at 10am.

The doctors on Wednesday appeared to soften their hard stance in the ongoing strike that has lasted over a month now.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Chairman Samuel Oroko yesterday told The Standard they were not seeking the “immediate” implementation of a collective bargaining agreement.

“All we want is a framework that outlines the phases and period of implementation of the collective bargaining agreement. Only that and we will be willing to go back to work,” he said.

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The Ministry of Health said they would “try and rope in” the doctors to discuss the strike. The doctors’ union said it had not received any invitation to a meeting but was willing to attend the meeting.

Sources said President Uhuru Kenyatta decided to try and break the deadlock after talks spearheaded by the ministries of Health and Labour failed to yield any positive results.

The President is still at the Coast on a working holiday.

During his end of the year address, Uhuru made it clear the Government was limited in what it could afford.

The Health ministry has maintained that it is willing to negotiate with the doctors again, despite having given them a counter offer.

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The high-level meeting is likely to be attended by top State officials from the ministries of Treasury, Health and Labour.

January 5, 2017, was supposed to be the deadline for all stakeholders discussing the doctors’ collective bargaining agreement, after which it was to be registered

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The Government appealed against this October ruling by Justice Monica Mbaru and the fate of the registration and subsequent implementation of the CBA now remains uncertain.

At the same time, determination on the contempt of court case against the doctors’ union is due next Tuesday.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa will either sentence the union officials to jail or fine them for contempt of court for failing to suspend the strike as per a December 2 ruling by Justice Nelson Abuodha.

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