, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9- The Kenya Defence Forces Doctors have been deployed to Kenyatta National Hospital, to assist patients admitted there, as crisis in the health sector worsened on the fifth day of doctors and nurses strike.
This comes after more than 290 specialists at the facility downed their tools on Thursday to join the ongoing medics’ strike.
KDF spokesman Col Paul Njuguna said their doctors will remain at the hospital until the strike is over.
“That is part of our secondary duty and we are answering to a call of duty so as to deal with emergencies and save lives,” Colonel Njuguna said.
The move has however been dismissed as diversionary by a section of medical practitioners, who now want the President to lead the ongoing negotiations between their unions and the Government.
The situation has been complicated further after the Council of Governors dismissed the existence of the disputed CBA between the doctors and nurses, which they say it is still under negotiation.
The Council chairperson Peter Munya says there is no registered CBA to be implemented.
Another group under the Kenya Health Professionals Society and Kenya Union of Clinical Officers has dismissed the ongoing talks saying they were not inclusive.
“The ongoing negotiations are discriminative due to lack of exclusion of these cadres merely on account that they do not belong to any registered union,” Moses Lorwe, the group Secretary General said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has since urged doctor and nurses to resume work while assuring that all was being done to resolve the grievances they have raised.
The President said he was confident that the stalemate will be resolved.
“We need to work together because we do not want Kenyans to suffer,” said the President when he addressed doctors at Kericho County Hospital.
The President spoke after commissioning modern medical equipment at Kericho County Hospital including dialysis machines.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako on Friday told Capital FM News that the talks are progressing well and they hope to reach a solution by the end of the day.
Panyako said once the talks conclude, the Union will hold its National Governing Council meeting where a decision to call off the strike will be made.
“We are progressing well with the talks and at this stage it would be premature to reveal anything. However, once we reach an amicable solution, we will present it before our National Governing Council which will ratify the decision arrived at,” he said.
“Once that happens, we will call a press conference where we will announce the end of the strike by nurses.”
His sentiments come even as doctors remained adamant that they will only call off the industrial action following the implementation of the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2013.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants has also urged the health workers to end the current strike and give dialogue a chance.
In a statement, Secretary General Tom Odege stated that as a union, they cannot remain silent while Kenyans are suffering.
He however indicated that both sides in the negotiations must go about it with the good will it deserves.
“We would like to urge doctors and other health workers to go back to the table and negotiate as they resume work. Kenyans have suffered enough and we cannot keep quiet,” he said.