Health CS Susan Nakhumicha calls for review of 2017 doctors’ CBA as strike Continues

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has urged a reevaluation of the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which she believes triggered the current doctors’ strike.

Nakhumicha highlighted ambiguities within the 2017 CBA that she deems necessary to address. “I was not part of the signing between the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and the previous government,” she remarked.

Speaking at a thanksgiving event for Lugari Constituency MP Nabii Nabwera, Nakhumicha assured her commitment to addressing the issue, emphasizing the dedication of President William Ruto’s administration to resolving concerns across all sectors for the benefit of Kenyans.

“While I wasn’t the Health CS in 2017, upon assuming office, I identified issues within the 2017 CBA that require rectification. Our government is resolute in resolving challenges across various sectors for the welfare of Kenyans,” stated Nakhumicha.

She underscored her endeavors in reforming the health sector during her tenure, including augmenting drug supplies at Kemsa and dismantling cartels at NHIF. “Enhancing the health sector remains a top priority,” she affirmed.

Nakhumicha pointed out that the multitude of demands within the CBA hinder its full implementation.

In response, the Minority Leadership in the National Assembly has called upon President William Ruto to intervene and seek a lasting solution to the doctors’ strike.

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi proposed the consideration of a second supplementary budget by Kenya Kwanza lawmakers to allocate funds for fulfilling the 2017 CBA.

“If budgetary constraints are the hurdle, with Kenya Kwanza MPs constituting the majority, let’s convene parliament to propose a supplementary budget and allocate funds for intern doctors’ placement and prompt doctor promotions. President Ruto’s leadership is crucial in engaging with doctors to end this dire strike,” Wandayi urged during the thanksgiving ceremony.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula stressed that resolving the doctors’ strike is not solely the responsibility of CS Nakhumicha and called for parliamentary action, supported by Sirisia MP John Waluke.

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi emphasized the complexity of the issue and advocated for the full devolution of health funds to address the challenges effectively.

Vihiga Women Representative Beatrice Adagala encouraged CS Nakhumicha to collaborate with MPs to supplement the health budget if necessary.

ODM Deputy Party Leader Wycliffe Oparanya urged CS Nakhumicha to involve President Ruto in resolving the doctors’ strike, emphasizing the gravity of the matter.

KMPDU demands, including intern doctors’ postings, promotions, medical coverage, and post-graduate fees payment, are outlined in the CBA awaiting implementation.

The signing of the CBA followed a nationwide doctors’ strike lasting 100 days and resulting in the arrest of KMPDU union leadership, led by Dr. Ouma Oluga. The government committed to various provisions in the CBA, including intern doctor postings, doctor employment, promotions, and medical coverage.