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Suffering of patients to end as doctors say deal close

Kenya Medical Association national chairperson Jacqueline Kitulu addresses journalists about the doctors' strike outside All Saints’ Cathedral Church in Nairobi on March 12, 2017. She is joined by KMPDU Chairman Samuel Oroko (left) and secretary-general Ouma Oluga. They said the strike might end anytime. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials say they have agreed on everything with the government that would see them call off the strike, but are stuck at “how the doctors will go back to work” following their now 99-day strike.

KMPDU secretary-general Ouma Oluga and the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) have said they are at a “crucial stage”, which could end in “an hour, a day or the day after”, which requires that all parties, including doctors and the public, to be calm.

Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu, KMA head, told journalists on Sunday in Nairobi after a church service that they are working closely with mediators from the Inter-religious Council to smoothen out any rough patches in talks, and hopefully, bring the strike to an end.

She said: “The parties can sit together and conclude this matter, which is at a very crucial stage only when things are calm. They [documents drawn by both the government and the doctors] are awaiting signatories on the agreed parts. Particularly, the return to work formula, which is very crucial for an orderly end to the strike and a return to work by the doctors.”

Dr. Kitulu added: “We are looking at it with hope because we are at a point where most of the things are pretty much resolved.”

But speaking in Mombasa, State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the government will only engage the doctors in negotiations if they to return to work.

Addressing the press during a weekly briefing at State House, Mombasa, Mr. Esipisu said the President stands by his earlier stand.

“The President stand remains the same that striking doctors must resume duty immediately. If they don’t, there will be no more discussions on the subject. We praise those who have returned to work and urge the rest to do the same,” said Mr. Esipisu.

Last Wednesday, President Kenyatta said the government was ready to sack doctors who refuse to go back to work and that he was not going to sit and watch Kenyans suffer due to lack of medical services.

The doctors and their employer are scheduled to return to court today after the appellate court judges gave them a week to strike a deal.


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