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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 services.

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 facility.

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 get services.

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 said.

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.

- Xinhua


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