Kenya doctors union sign 'return to work deal' as they call off 100-day strike

Elsa Buchanan
Doctors sign 'return to work deal'

The leader of Kenya's doctor's union has called off the 100-day-long doctors strike, coining it the most painful struggle in the history of the East African nation.

The doctors union (KMPDU) began a strike on 5 December 2016 over the government's failure to implement a pay package conforming to an agreement signed in 2013.

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As the strike lengthened, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the medics to return to duty, and the doctors were, last month, given an ultimatum to report to work or be sacked.

Public hospitals last week began the process of sacking doctors and evicting them from the premises as the strike crippled public health services.

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The leader of the union, Dr Ouma Oluga, today (14 March) agreed to sign a Return To Work Formula with the national and county governments, after several failed attempts on both side to compromise.

Under the new deal, doctors will receive an additional $560 (£460) to $700 every month in allowances.

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The end of the strike comes after repeated calls for for the medics to call off their industrial action for the sake of their patients. Kenyatta earlier urged the medics to return to work, alleging that dozens of people had died due to the long-running strike because of lack of treatment.

Oluga, meanwhile, said the issue that led to the strike had not be resolved, as he attended the signing in ceremony that took place in the capital, Nairobi. The union leader added there would be a follow up.

The ceremony was streamed live on NTV Kenya's Facebook page.

The 2013 collective bargaining agreement promised to set terms of work, increase the number of doctors, deliver a 300% pay increase and increase research funds, drugs and equipment in public hospitals. The agreement was never implemented.

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