One hundred and sixty (160) Tanzanian doctors have so far applied to go and work in Kenya, following a three-month strike by medics that has paralysed health services in East Africa’s largest economy.
Last Saturday Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli announced the initiative by Kenya to import 500 doctors from Tanzania, but the move has since sparked uproar, with the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) writing to its Tanzanian opposite, the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT), not to sanction the doctors’ move to Kenya until the differences that sent them on strike are ironed out.
‘Please note that it would have been appropriate for Tanzanian doctors to wait for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed to be fully implemented within the agreed two months before this two-year contract takes effect,’ the KMPDU wrote.
In a ‘below-the-belt’ wisecrack the KMPDU wonders why Tanzania, a country it says has failed to employ its doctors, is now opting to ‘export’ them to Kenya.
In December last year, Kenyan doctors went on strike, demanding an increase in salaries and improvement in working conditions. Since then, the government and the doctors under their umbrella organization, the KMPDU, have been engaged in a protracted argument that resulted in the decision to ‘import’ doctors from the neighbouring Tanzania.