The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Governors Meet Today to Discuss Doctors Strike

Governors will today chart way forward on the ongoing strike by doctors and nurses. Despite assurances that the county governments have no intention of slashing their pay, doctors said they will continue with their week-old strike.

The council of governors chairman Isaac Rutto's assurance that the county governments intended to raise salaries and promote medics to higher job grades will be discussed in a meeting to address the strike which is scheduled to held in Nairobi today.

"Majority of counties are willing to increase the pay of health workers once the process of devolving the health function is complete. We are interested in retaining the best and we know paying them better is key to that," he said.

"In any case, the law does not allow the reduction of employees salaries who are transiting to the counties. The claims are false."

The doctors have been on strike since last week to protest the transfer of their payroll from the national to the county governments.

The doctors want the national government to continue paying them until a proper legal regime is put in place for a structured devolution of their services.

They are also opposed to the manner in which the Transition Authority and the Governors' Council are handling the devolution of health services.

Initially, the doctors had made three demands which they wanted addressed before they considered returning to work. However, they withdrew two of these demands and are only left with one.

In their strike notice issued by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, the doctors wanted a health commission established to handle the employment, emolument and other matters related to their welfare.

They also wanted the establishment of multi disciplinary team not only facilitate the necessary legal regime, but also to ensure that laws enacted are friendly to health workers.

They have now withdrawn these two demands but are still insisting that their payroll should not be transferred to the county governments.

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