The doctors’ strike is now entering its third week. Talks mediated by the Ministry of Labour have not borne any fruit. Doctors have rejected the latest offer which, in comparison, is much better than the one previously on the table, but still falls short of the CBA signed by the government 3 years ago. There may be progress in that the government now recognises the legality of the collective bargaining agreement.
This may well be the natural process of salary negotiations, but this folks is no ordinary industry, this is one of life and death. That this process is now going into its third week should be cause for alarm. That politicians from either side can go on with their rallies in different parts of the country wooing voters for 2017 is unacceptable. What’s worse is that this grave situation did not even warrant some sort of direction, let alone a mention from the Head of State during his Jamhuri address. Never mind that this may well be the worst labour crisis to hit the health sector in recent memory. That we can all seemingly move on with our lives is despicable.
It is all well and good for those that have private medical insurance, but that is, by far, the minority. For there are millions of Kenyans waiting, some on the brink of death for this crisis to be resolved. Yet others have paid the ultimate price. Kenya Airways engineers, pilots threaten a strike that is quickly resolved, because it is a stain, internationally on the so-called good name of this country. We all rant on social media about how our lives have been greatly inconvenienced by delayed flights. Now, ordinary Kenyans in the counties, who have no access to twitter and cannot trend a hashtag, are left to their own devices.
KDF medical personnel have been deployed to Kenyatta National Hospital, what about that one in Ukambani, or Central Kenya, or even at the coast? This cannot be the new normal. This issue must be resolved. Quickly! The call remains, to both sides, to sort this out immediately for the good of all Kenyans. For one life lost during this strike, is one life too many.