23 Dec 2015. One year on
At the beginning of 2015, we outlined what KMPDU aspires for all the doctors in Kenya. At the time, we had several challenges inherited from an indolent 2014 year for KMPDU and the extant poor Human Resources for Health management that is now worsening under a majority of the counties following Health Devolution and transfer of personnel emoluments from February 2014.
2015 is quickly passing by. The year saw a redefined labour engagement mechanism prompting deep reflection on ‘New and Innovative ways to Mobilize, Organize and Campaign’ for better welfare among Trade Unions. The old ways are still proven in most instances. KMPDU is not exceptional to the harsh trade unionism environment. We did what we must because we shall never rest on this long journey to emancipation of the doctor.
- Registrars denied entry into the national payroll system despite a 35 days strike in September 2014 had relief to be back into that same payroll by June 2015 after a quiet, exhaustive but strategic push by the union. Angela Markel said, ‘Some battles may not require war to win.’
- Worth Celebrating better than being on the payroll was the payment of ALL TUITION FEES for doctors admitted to post-graduate programs and under GoK sponsorship. And the good news is our union achieved cumulative one off payment for 3, 4, 5 and or 6 years duration. No more trek for that Exam card. A lot more remains to happen to increase post-graduate training opportunities for doctors yearning specialization.
- 2015 has been a good year for Internship. Our interns are the happiest in history having been posted in time and paid after only 2 months. 2016 shall be ushered with Internship commencement in January. All doctors who graduated from 2009 can remember with pain the demeaning yearly protests to get that posting letter. Not anymore. We made it History by demanding and seeing successful development of an Internship Policy.
- Promotions of doctors have not been smooth. Strikes and media campaigns have been the better of it. Unionism has few formulas except to stick to the objective of improving member’s welfare and so far, over 90% of doctors have been promoted. Promotions remain a yearly event and a smooth mechanism is yet to be devised. Together with Transfers, career progression, deployment post-internship and disciplinary mechanisms, they form the most important reasons a Health Service Commission shall never depart our minds.
- Our CBA is still a court issue for which we await judgment in early 2016.
- We embarked on reviewing the Schemes of Services for Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists. 3 at once and that was a big challenge we overcame. The implementation of the Schemes is the headache awaiting 2016 for which the NAC meeting on 16th January and the ADC in late February must decisively ACT. These remains the single most important achievement whose successful implementation shall mean better pension, better medical insurance, better career progression and of course more money.
- Private Doctors and Doctors in Faith Based organizations have been quite expectant. Be assured we didn’t forget you.
- The medical students’ community has been relied on multiple times to support the push for doctors’ better welfare. We reached out to all medical students and schools and the unity forged with the students community can only be for the better of both groups.
- The Union Database in under development and we look forward to producing analytical reports, communicating to our members better and supporting doctors even more in their areas of research, practice and academics in 2016.
Finally a union is not one without the UNITY. We thank you for keeping the faith and running the long unending race with KMPDU. This is your union.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016.
Dr. Ouma Oluga