Raila Odinga’s message addressing Doctors Strike 8th January 2021
Last Thursday, the country breathed a collective sigh of relief when health workers called off their strike after a return to work agreement signed by the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union. The talks also included the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and a representative of the Council of Governors.
It is therefore shocking that hardly a week later, clinical officers are threatening to down their tools again because the very same issues covered in the Return to Work Formula signed last week are not being implemented.
Across the country, clinical provide most patient care where specialized treatment is not required. Their threat to down tools comes just after the country released thousands of its children to schools and as the world carefully watches developments around the coronavirus and covid-19.
The strike threat also comes at a time two counties; Nyamira and Migori have had their health systems paralysed by doctors ’strike that is hardly talked about and is running into two months now.
This is therefore a time we need all our health workers on duty or on standby, not on strike or being tossed around between the two levels of government.
I therefore wish to make an urgent appeal to the two levels of government- the counties and the National Government-to immediately talk to each other and urgently bring to an end this ill-advised and ill-timed stand-off and possible strike.
Kenyans must not be kept permanently on the edge and worried over matters that can be sorted out without much drama through intergovernmental discussions that the public need not know about.
It is also important that Return to Work Formulas, once agreed on by employers and employees, are respected and implemented, otherwise the government loses capacity and authority to negotiate in future.