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Looming Crisis With Kenyan Doctors Contemplating Mass Resignation As Foreign Countries Come Knocking With Unbeatable Offers

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Kenya could be staring at an escalated health crisis following the doctors strike that is now clicking on to its 100th day. With negotiations seemingly hitting bedrock and the government calling off talks, things are slowly moving from bad to worse. An evidently outraged President told off doctors demands as unrealistic canceling the offers made to them. It goes without mentioning that the office of the President despite Kenya’s economy state, uses billions in travels and hospitality, recently Kenya spent hundreds of millions in the shuttle diplomacy tour to lobby for Ambassador Amina’s AU candidacy.

The government at the same time is allocating 1B to renovate the Statehouse. At the same time salaries of senior public servants from the President to his Cabinet Secretaries expected to be increased from June. So if we’re talking about unreality, We have a reference point.

The standoff between doctors and government as the employer has a lot to do with self-interests and bloated egos especially amongst state officials who’ve not shied away from stating the obvious that the backdrop of hard stand against CBA implementation is to protect the interests of the private healthcare. Treasury CS Rotich is on record saying the government will not allow proposed salary increase as that would injure the stability of private hospitals.

With the state of uncertainty now surrounding the future of healthcare in Kenya, many are clueless as to what happened in the last minutes when a deal had supposedly been reached only for the President to cancel everything. Highly placed sources intimate to Kenya Insights the intrigues behind the scenes that led to the presidential meltdown at the devolution conference.

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Apparently, The night before the court of appeal, the President had summoned KMPDU to Statehouse, full with media and Governors with a return to work formula. The President has planned to force KMPDU into sign under duress.
Cars were sent to pick the officials, but they refused to go. This caused the outrage, he was furious.

The President and his deputy categorically said the doctors would NEVER get any CBA and that the government has the money to pay even the 2013 CBA rates, but they will not sign. They vowed to crush KMPDU at all cost- as echoed in his fumed speech; the officials would be sorted. This clearly a black and white intimidation tacts.

The governors went ahead to unveil a plan of importing doctors from Tanzania and Cuba. At the same time gave an offer to willing doctors who would agree to go against Union’s will to go back to work. The package included a 40% increase. It’s funny for governors to give such an offer yet they’re on record to have had fired all striking doctors. The mind games boggling. Tanzania is ranked amongst countries with the low doctor to the patient ratio by WHO standing at 1:10,000.

The country has a shortage of doctors and sourcing from outside. In a blow to the governor’s prospect, Tanzania doctors union has come out and ruled out possibilities of coming to Kenya in governor’s demand saying they’re in solidarity with the Kenyan counterparts encouraging the state to instead solve the affairs internally before reaching out to them.

Hiring Cuban doctors is an expensive option that has been tried in similar situations in different African countries and failed miserably. Kenya has 5000 doctors which is way below recommended international standards given the high population. Kenyan doctors are overworked given the extraordinary doctor to patient ratio. The most of the Cuban medics government can hire 200, and that’s a drop in the ocean. They can’t handle the workload. The amount of hiring and sustaining foreign doctors is higher than the amount needed to pay the doctors.

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As a country of knee-jerk decisions, the policy makers can’t see beyond the nose. The country can’t sustain the idea, and all we’re witnessing is nothing but penis measuring, the fact is it’s cheaper and sustainable paying our doctors and implementing CBA which is a long-term relief in streamlining the ailing public healthcare. The fear of applying this agreement made in 2013 is not that the government can’t find it, but it’s deliberately being swept under to protect the interest of the private sector majority of which is owned by same policy makers.

With government maintaining hard positions, the doctors who’ve maneuvered through three months without pay and constant blackmailing and intimidation from the employer are making considerations that would move things from bad to worse. A unanimous decision seems to have been made amongst the medics considering a massive brain drain. We’re staring at an inevitable mass resignation and transfer of doctors to foreign countries.

According to multiple sources talking to Kenya Insights, countries as Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Australia have their agents in Kenya having advanced discussions with the doctors who’re now feeling unappreciated by the State. “We’re ready to move to countries that can appreciate us if our own won’t,” says one of the doctors speaking to us.

Countries like Namibia is offering double the salary of what is demanded in the CBA, an intern in Namibia confirms to Kenya Insights they’re earning a 3000USD monthly allowance. Kenya medics are highly considered and ranked amongst the best in the market making them a hot commodity in the shelves. If the government is not going to play magic and make the environment conducive, Kenya is yet to see the worst in the healthcare sphere. In 1994, after failed talks, doctors moved away in masses, and this could be again the case this year. As it stands, Kenya is in dare need of more doctors and a scenario of the few going away is enough crisis signal.

Chris Kirubi’s Capital News at work with propaganda

Charlatans as Health PS Muraguri are escalating the doctor’s standoff. The hardliner has resorted to using cartel media houses like Capital News owned by Chris Kirubi who’s amongst investors in the protected private health-care to churn false and blackmailing news on doctors. A lasting solution is needed to end the health freeze as big men fight for their survival; the poor are dying and spending to their last coin to stay alive. The government has the sole obligation of ensuring a healthy nation, the legitimacy of a government comes under scrutiny when a country remains on a three-month death bed without grave concern from the authorities.

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Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on tips.kenyainsights@gmail.com or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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