(Daily Nation) The government has tabled a new salary offer to 2,300 doctors whose national strike enters its fourth day on Thursday.
But the negotiations are set to continue because the doctors expressed reservations about the government’s counter-proposal.
The talks resumed on Wednesday as Parliament’s Health Committee termed the strike as a “national emergency” that should be addressed urgently.
The government increased the amount allocated to doctors’ allowances from Sh1.35 billion to Sh1.9 billion for the first phase and Sh5.2 billion for the second one.
The first phase begins on December 1 and the second one will be implemented in July 2012.
In addition, Medical Services assistant minister Kambi Kazungu announced that the government will allocate Sh80 billion for upgrading existing health facilities and building new ones over a period of 10 years.
But the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) rejected the allocation to fund the upgrade, arguing that it amounted to six per cent of the government budget, way below the 15 per cent recommended in the Abuja Declaration.
Mr Kazungu pleaded for understanding from the doctors whose strike has paralysed health care services in public hospitals.
The new offer came after talks with officials of KMPDU that went late into the evening.
During the meeting at Afya House, the union was adamant that their colleagues who have been “enslaved” at Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret be put on permanent employment.
As the strike entered the third day on Wednesday, a government committee went into a long day of meeting at Afya House.
An officer at the ministry, however, disclosed that the committee meetings have been going on since Sunday and was the one behind the offer of Sh50,000 per in allowances that the union rejected on Tuesday.
Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, committee chairman Robert Monda said the government had a responsibility to ensure the matter was resolved before many more Kenyans succumb to illnesses.
“Unless the government acts quickly, we should be prepared to lose more people in deaths that could have been prevented if the doctors were at their places of work,” said the MP.
Mr Kazungu is expected to address the matter this afternoon in the House.
Source: Daily Nation