, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Twenty five thousand health workers who defied a directive by Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong’o to resume work by 2pm on Tuesday have been fired.
The minister announced on Thursday that the sacked workers would be required to re-apply if they are to be considered for reappointment.
Nyong’o said that termination letters for those who had refused to report on duty for the past three days were already being dispatched.
He said that 2,700 dispensaries and 700 health centers were fully back in operation across the country as some health workers resumed duty. But he admitted that the larger medical facilities were still experiencing challenges.
“We have received relevant reports from all our facilities and we know who is in and who is out… there must be law and order in government,” said Nyong’o.
The minister told journalists at his Afya House Office that allowances for the health workers had already been harmonised as per their various job groups.
But he castigated the health workers who went on strike on March 1, saying their action was contributing to loss of innocent lives.
“The same Constitution that gives them (health workers) the rights to strike also gives every Kenyan born or unborn the right to life,” he emphasised.
Nyong’o said that talks with a seven member joint consultative team set up to look into the striking workers’ grievances should continue with its work.
“We shall negotiate, we shall not fear to negotiate but we are not going to negotiate in fear,” added the minister.
On Monday, the health workers trashed a deal entered between their leaders and the government on Sunday night shunning their working stations and continued with their protest marches at Uhuru Park. They said all the issues they had raised had been ignored and nothing tangible was offered.
Even after the minister’ ultimatum, some health workers stood their ground with reports of deserted public hospitals in Meru, Kisumu, Nakuru and a section of them staging protests in Nairobi.
The nurses are opposed to the categorisation of the health workers by cadres in giving the extraneous allowance.
Other demands the health workers had made were private practice allowance, payment of interns, risk allowance, promotions, re-designation for certificate holders who have acquired diplomas, review of schemes of service, uniform allowance for nurses and nutritionists.
Media reports said deaths had occurred in several health institutions due to neglect.