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KMPDU on collision course with government over medical interns

The ongoing dispute between the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and the Ministry of Health reached a boiling point on February 12, as the union openly defied the Ministry’s directives regarding the hiring of medical interns.

In a strongly-worded press statement, KMPDU demanded the immediate hiring of a new cohort of medical interns before the end of February, as per the agreement reached in a meeting held between the union and the Ministry on January 22, 2024.

The union cited a communique from the State Department of Medical Services, which deviated from the terms of the initial agreement that stipulated the hiring of the new cohort immediately after the completion of the 2023 cohort’s internship.

“The Union demands an immediate withdrawal of the communique and a confirmation of our earlier agreement to allay unnecessary anxiety among our members,” stated KMPDU.

KMPDU insisted that medical interns be posted by the end of February 2024 in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the agreements signed between KMPDU, the Council of Governors, and the Ministry of Health.

Expressing their disappointment, the union condemned the Ministry for altering the terms of the agreement, labeling it as an insult to the previous discussions held at the Afya Annex.

“The Union has not engaged in any meetings with the Ministry today, and as such, this communique of February 12, 2024, is alien to us and in bad faith,” added the Union.

In solidarity with KMPDU’s demands, graduate doctors staged demonstrations outside the Ministry of Health offices on Monday, urging to meet with CS Nakhumicha to address their concerns.

Ramesh Saxena, the University of Nairobi Governor of the Faculty of Health Sciences, emphasized the potential repercussions of the delay on internship dates.

“We hope that by participating in this peaceful protest, we shall secure the timely posting of these interns and restore faith among medical students for a brighter future,” stated Saxena.

The National Guidelines for Internship Training of Medical and Dental Officer Interns (2019) mandate that medical practitioners be hired for internship immediately after successfully completing their examinations.

“Interns shall be posted within a month upon successful completion of their training and passing of the final examination, graduation notwithstanding; or passing of Council’s Internship Qualifying Exams,” the guidelines read.

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