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Doctors give ultimatum for posting of medical interns

Doctors have issued a deadline of March 1 for relevant health stakeholders to ensure the placement of all pending medical interns, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General, Davji Atellah, in an address on February, 2020 said that all medical interns must receive their posting letters by March 1.

Atellah highlighted that 1,215 medical interns are awaiting placement, with some individuals having waited for either six months or one year.

Atellah expressed concern over the plight of these interns, noting that they have been left in a state of desperation at home while the country grapples with a shortage of doctors in hospitals.

The collective bargaining agreement between the ministry and the doctors’ union mandates that medical interns should be posted within 30 days after receiving clearance from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

“We expect all the interns to be reporting to their respective hospitals by March 1. Otherwise, on February 29, we will all go to the Ministry of Health to collect these letters,” Atellah said.

He warned that failure to address the issue by the specified deadline would result in doctors across the country initiating a go-slow.

Atellah emphasized that the delay in posting interns not only infringes upon their constitutional rights but also poses a serious threat to patient care within public hospitals.

He underscored the broader implications of this delay, stating that it hampers interns’ ability to fulfill their duties and impedes their career progression.

“The repercussions of this unjustifiable delay extend directly to the patients who depend on public hospitals for medical attention,” Atellah remarked.

He cautioned that the delay in posting interns exacerbates the burden on already overworked, underpaid, and demotivated healthcare professionals, ultimately compromising the standards of patient care.

The unions recently engaged in discussions with Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha on the matter.

In a meeting held on Thursday, the ministry withdrew an earlier communication indicating that posting would be delayed until July.

The ministry attributed the delay to the failure of the Treasury to release funds on time.

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