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Kenyan Doctors End Strike: Return-to-work Deal Signed

IN a significant development, Kenyan public hospital doctors have reached an agreement with the government to end their strike, which commenced in mid-March. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU), representing over 7,000 doctors, had initiated the strike to address several concerns, including salary arrears and the urgent hiring of trainee doctors.

Following negotiations, captured in televised scenes showing union officials alongside senior government representatives, a return-to-work formula was formally endorsed. ‘We have signed a return to work formula and the union has called off the strike,’ affirmed Susan Nakhumicha, the Minister of Health, marking a crucial breakthrough in the standoff.

The doctors’ grievances stemmed from a 2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), with demands extending to the provision of comprehensive medical insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents. ‘One thing we must assure everybody… is that the rights of workers as enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement… is sacrosanct,’ emphasised Dhavji Atellah, KMPDU’s Secretary-General, underscoring the union’s commitment to upholding labor rights.


Despite some issues remaining unresolved, notably the hiring of interns, progress was made with a commitment to address these concerns within a stipulated timeframe. The government, citing financial constraints, had initially expressed inability to fulfil all demands due to fiscal pressures on the public purse.

The conclusion of the strike comes as a relief for citizens, particularly amid recent challenges exacerbated by heavy rains and flooding. Muthomi Njuki, the Governor of Tharaka Nithi County, emphasised the urgency for doctors to resume work, especially in light of emerging health threats such as cholera outbreaks in certain regions.

While the resolution of the doctors’ strike marks a significant milestone, another group of healthcare workers, clinical officers, remains on strike, highlighting ongoing challenges within Kenya’s healthcare sector.

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