Health CS Susan Nakhumicha has told posted medical interns to report to designated health centres as stakeholders seek to resolve the stalemate involving their monthly pay. In a statement, the CS explained that the budget allocated to the Ministry of Health (Ksh.3.7 billion) in the 2024/25 budget will not be adequate to facilitate the posting of 3,760 interns which requires Ksh.4.8 billion.

She listed the three options on the table in the ongoing discussions with the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists Dentists Union (KMPDU) which involves either posting all doctors at the recommended monthly rate of Ksh.70,000 proposed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) or using the funds allocated in the budget to post at least 552 interns on a monthly rate of Ksh.206,400 monthly as per the 2017 Collective Bargaining Rate (CBA).

The third option is to await the court’s direction whereby the advisory by SRC to propose a Ksh.70,000 monthly stipend for the interns was challenged in the Employment and Labour Relations Court. The ruling will be delivered on September 26, 2024.

“The above notwithstanding the Ministry recognizes the loss in time and highly recommends the interns across the cadres to report to their internship centres as communicated earlier pending the resolution of the package,” the statement read in part.

CS Nakhumicha also addressed the #OccupyMOH movement that has seen hundreds of medical, dental and pharmacy interns storm the Ministry of Health headquarters while demanding for her resignation.

She explained that some characters sought to use the peaceful demonstrations to paint a picture of inaction and incompetence against the Health Ministry.

“It is regrettable that despite the open and candid discussions with the union officials and representatives of the interns, a few individuals are attempting to use the demonstrations and assembly as an opportunity to paint an image of inaction, neglect and incompetence against the Ministry of Health, hoping that this will propagate a feeling of hopelessness and incite chaos among the wider population,” she said. Nakhumicha reassured the public that the ongoing discussions would ultimately solve the stalemate as all parties would come to a mutual decision.

The statement comes amid months of stalemate involving the Ministry and health stakeholders over the 2017 CBA agreement. In March, health workers downed their tools and staged a 56-day strike while demanding the government address their grievances.

The strike culminated in a Return-to-work formula which was signed by both parties on May 8, 2024, which provided the formation of a taskforce to rationalise the remuneration of all health workers across the country.

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