Uhuru appeals for speedy resolution to health workers strike
18 December 2013, 19:13
Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday appealed
to striking health workers to resume service immediately to alleviate
the pain and suffering of patients.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, Kenyatta particularly called on
governors and public health workers to speedily resolve the stand-off.
"Whatever differences exist, we have to put human life above all
other interests. We definitely cannot allow men, women and children to
continue living each day fearing the worst for themselves and their
loved ones as a result of disagreements that can easily be resolved by
following the law," he said.
The strike has entered its ninth day, paralyzing operations in all
public hospitals and health centers in the East African nation.
Dr. Sultan Matendechero of the Kenya National Dentists Association
said the government had not engaged the workers, calling on the strikers
not be intimidated by the government move to hire unlicensed people.
Health workers went on strike on Dec. 10 protesting the government
decision to devolve services, including their pay, to 47 counties.
The medical workers are unhappy with the way the Transition Authority
and the Governors Council are handing the process of devolving health
They accuse the two of malice, noting that the process is
inconsistent with the constitution and no legislation has been put in
place to safeguard the transfer.
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), the largest facility in East and
Central Africa, has recalled all medical staff who were on leave to help
deal with the overwhelming number of patients seeking services at the
KNH CEO Simeon Monda warned on Tuesday that the situation could get
worse if the strike could not be resolved as soon as possible.
Monda said eight still births were recorded at the hospital with
eight mothers having lost the babies as they travelled to hospital to
In his statement, Kenyatta said he has noted with deep concern, the
suffering of Kenyans as a result of the ongoing strike by health workers
in government facilities.
"This strike is totally unacceptable and goes against the Hippocratic
Oath and basic principles of humane consideration for fellow Kenyans."
"I urge the Unions involved in the strike to think, not of their
personal interests, but the thousands of Kenyans who are suffering," he
The government agreed on Dec. 10 to delay the transfer of health
services to 47 counties for two months. However, the joint statement was
not signed by the union officials.