Medical interns demand fulfillment of 2017 CBA in overnight protest

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Photographs on social media showed the medical officers sleeping on camping bags outside the ministry premises, covered in blankets.

Medical interns have called for the ouster of Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha after a protest that ran into the night, with groups camping at the Afya House headquarters of the Ministry of Health in Nairobi.

Photographs on social media showed the medical officers sleeping on camping bags outside the ministry premises, covered in blankets.

This was after the health workers picketed at Upper Hill throughout Monday, intensifying their call to the government to honour the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by promptly effecting internship posting.

The officers were captured singing the national anthem, brandishing Kenyan flags, and displaying placards emblazoned with slogans such as "Nakhumicha must go!"

Dr Atieno Ochieng’, one of those who participated in the protest, said well-wishers who donated food.

“The love we've received tonight is beyond what we imagined. Thank you to everyone who stood up for our nation. We continue to occupy MOH until all the medical interns are posted. The state has turned duly trained medics into street dwellers. The Ministry of Health, whose mandate is ensuring a functioning health system, has failed us too,” Atieno said.

Kenyans took to social media to condemn the ministry for not posting the intern and leaving them to suffer on the streets.

“Disheartened to see our dedicated medics spending a year pleading for their internship placements. The Ministry of Health's incompetence is glaring as our medics camp outside, waiting for their futures to be secured. It is unacceptable,” said an X user identified only as Sugut.

One Alenga Torosterdt said, “What MOH is doing to intern medics is totally wrong, shameful and degrading. Nakhumicha must sort out this mess! We can’t punish our youth for excelling in school. This isn’t the country we want. CS is incompetent and must leave office. Shame on you!”

Wanjiru Karanja added, “My heart bleeds for every single medical intern who's had to wait for two years or one year to be posted. This means zero career progression after 5/6 years of a very intense training programme."

Davji Atellah, secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU), earlier said the union was holding a series of meetings at the Kenyatta National Hospital and the Ministry of Health to implement the return-to-work formula

Atellah noted the internship postings debacle was to be resolved within 60 days as per the 2017 CBA.

“As we all know, the 60 days end on July 7, 2024. So far, we are in agreement with the Ministry of Health that interns must be posted as per CBA 2017 before the lapse of the 60-day negotiation window as per our return-to-work formula."

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