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Joint Civil Society Press Statement on Doctors Strike
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Joint Civil Society Press Statement on Doctors Strike

Joint Civil Society Press Statement on Doctors Strike

8th December 2016

  1. Preamble

We the undersigned civil society organizations, meeting to deliberate on various governance and human rights issues affecting our Country here at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre;  conscious of our civic duty to protect public interests and benefits  in the administration of  state affairs; mindful of our responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution and without prejudice or favour to the parties concerned hereby issue this public statement on the ongoing industrial action by medical practitioners in the public sector. 

First we wish to express our sympathies with the weighty grievances affecting the medical practitioners and recognize their constitutional rights espoused in Article 41 to fair labour practices, fair remuneration, reasonable working conditions and industrial action.

Second, we note that the strike action disproportionately affects the poor whom medical practitioners have taken oath to serve. Indeed, the action has caused massive pain and grief to the public including contributing to death of Kenyans.

Third, we remind the Kenyan State of its fundamental duty to take legislative, policy and other measures to achieve the realization of the highest standards of health and other Economic and Social Rights enshrined in Article 43 of the Constitution.

We further note the importance attached to health service provision by citizens, in the Kenya County Governance Status Report released by Transparency International-Kenya during this conference.

  1. Assessment of Situation
  2. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiated and adopted in 2013 was not transitioned once the County governments were effected following the last General Election. This resulted to distrust going against an important tenet in the governance of any society.
  3. The inadequate allocation of resources to the health sector by the national government has not followed the devolved functions as was expected with the promulgation of the Constitution. Thus the health sector is grossly under resourced and the national government of Kenya is yet to meet the 15% p.a Abuja Declaration budget allocation deemed to be the basic minimum for positive health outcomes as a basis for economic growth.
  4. The present government funding structure retains too much money at national level, to the detriment of actual service delivery at county level. The Ministry of Health at the National Government is retaining up to 20 billion out of the Ksh60 billion that it does not deserve based on the fact that health functions are fully devolved.
  5. The KMPDU and the entire medical fraternity has not embraced the new reality of devolution of health functions observed in the refusal of postings to county level, legal actions to stop the transfer of functions- which have been militated through court action.  This has affected the medical profession’s capacity to shape health services and schemes of service under the appropriate constitutional framework.
  6. The Council of Governors has not tabled concrete proposals on how to meet the country’s need for a professional health service. Moreover, it did not respond to the grievances by the health workers (including the notice to strike) on time[1], thus aggravating the situation that lead to the industrial actions and the current crisis in the sector.
  7. This situation has been complicated by massive corruption, theft and waste of public resources as has been demonstrated in the recent Auditor general reports. This is orchestrated by failure by the two levels of governments to promote openness, transparency, accountability, integrity, prudence and efficiency in the management of public finance as envisaged in the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act 2012 with subsequent amendments.
  8. We, however, hasten to add, that there are sterling examples of several counties which were not on the Auditor General’s list of shame

   Way forward

In view of the facts above we call for the following:

  1. The Council of Governors (CoG), Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the KMPDU to immediately review the proposed scheme of service with the view to implementing it within the constitutional framework.
  2. The specific commitment of the national and county governments to respect agreements resulting from the negotiations.
  3. The KMPDU and the entire medical fraternity should embrace the new reality of devolution of health functions and be willing to engage with the counties through the Council of Governors (CoGs)
  4. The Ministry of Health to immediately release to the counties at least Ksh20 billion of the Ksh60 billion that it is holding under their health budget line.
  5. The Treasury to immediately withdraw and revise the Division of Revenue 2017 to transfer remaining funds to county health services. This can be done through conditional grant to health, with an agreed quantum to go to medical profession salaries and benefits. The balance of the grant can be dedicated to health services in line with county needs.
  6. The comprehensive review of the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector in view of devolution.
  7. Call upon medical practitioners to support county governments and actively fight the vice of graft and maladministration within the constitutional framework and not by trying to recentralize health
  8. In view of the above, we call upon the Doctors and Nurses to return to work

Also the need for full devolution of functions and allocation of the requisite resources to the county governments and health sector. Accountable use of the same is critical.

We as civil society actors offer to support any dialogue processes. We also undertake to defend the Constitution of Kenya and protect every person’s Right to Health.

Organisations

  1. Institute for Social Accountability (TISA)
  2. Uraia
  3. Katiba Institute (KI)
  4. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
  5. International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC)
  6. CSO Reference Group
  7. Transparency International
  8.  NCCK
  9. Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
  10. Inuka

[1] Unfair administrative action, Article 47