Doctors protest outside the Supreme Court on February 15, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO.Doctors protest outside the Supreme Court on February 15, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO.
By DAVID KWALIMWA

The Government has explained why it has opted to employ 500 doctors from Tanzania even after Kenyans medics ended a 3-month strike.

Confirming the move on Sunday, State House Spokesperson, Manoah Esipisu, said the decision has been informed by the need to bridge the doctor:patient ration in the country and significantly bring in the right skills set required in some areas.

He said Tanzania has agreed to send the doctors, whose skills set has been determined by the National Government and the Council of Governors.

“Following a conversation on the subject by Presidents (Uhuru) Kenyatta and (Pombe) Magufuli, (Health) CS Cleopa Mailu led a delegation to Tanzania which met President Magufuli. The sum result of that meeting was Tanzania agreeing to send to us 500 doctors,” Esipisu said in a statement to newsrooms.

“The doctors will be paid at par, according to their experience and skills, with the package offer Government has made to Kenyan Intern doctors and Medical Officers, and on a contract basis,” he added.

DOCTORS’ STRIKE

This news comes barely a week after the Government and Kenyan doctors signed a return to work deal that ended the doctors’ strike that paralysed operations of public hospitals countrywide.

Mr Esipisu also clarified that doctors are the only cadre of professionals that are still posted directly to hospitals from college.

Debunking the misguided notion that some 1,400 doctors who have graduated from public universities were still hanging without jobs, Mr Esipisu said doctors are absorbed into service first as interns and after a year confirmed as medical officers once they finish their studies.

“Some do leave to expend all their energies in private practice while others stick in Government while still committing large chunks of their time to private practice,” Mr Esipisu said.

During the strike, President Kenyatta had threatened doctors with dire consequences for repeatedly frustrating the government’s efforts to agree a return to work formula.