NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) has called off a nationwide strike which had entered its 26th day on Friday after singing a return-to-work formula with the Ministry of Health.
KUCO Secretary General George Gibore told a news conference on Friday that their 17-point agenda which formed part of their grievances for downing their tools on December 7, 2020 had been met.
The union had been clamoring for the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the clinical officers, a comprehensive medical cover, designated health facilities for clinical officers who might get infected with COVID-19 while in the line of duty among other issues.
“We have all agreed that if all these issues and we have signed, the strike has been called off immediately and we ask our members to resume duty within the next 24 hours,” he said.
While acknowledging that their industrial action had impacted patients across the country negatively, Gibore assured that the union would continue to engage with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the agreement is followed to letter so as to avert another strike.
“We will fully corporate and work together so that Kenyans can be able to get the services they need,” he said.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe lauded the officers for giving Kenyans with a new year gift by agreeing to the terms and resuming their duties to serve patients who have been subjected to untold suffering.
“On this New Year’s Day, we mark yet again another milestone in our endeavour to provide health care services to Kenyans. Last week the government agreed with the doctors to end their strike and it was a Christmas gift marking the bist of Christ. Today we have also signed another deal and there cannot be a better new year’s gift than that,” he said.
He said the government is fully committed to negotiating with the nurses and medical lab technicians who are still on strike in a bid to ensure normalcy returns in the public health sector.
“For avoidance of doubt may I state that the government is committed to ensuring continuity of services to our people without disruption and we will do everything possible to get all our health striking workers back to work,” he said.
With the COVID-19 threat still active, CS Kagwe emphasized that the government’s priority was to meet the basic demands of the health care workers.
“As we battle COVID-19, we need all the hands-on deck as the disease is not showing any signs of relenting,” he said.