NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Catholic Bishops have offered to mediate the doctors’ strike talks with the Government to help find a lasting solution to the crisis that has paralysed operations in public hospitals across the country.
In a statement, Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Philip Anyolo stressed the need for normal medical services to be restored without further delay.
He further appealed to the National and County Governments to create a conducive environment for dialogue.
“The ongoing grand standing and chest thumping by the doctors’ union on one hand and by the National and County Governments on the other enhances the hopelessness of the sad and worrisome situation being experienced in Kenya today,” he stressed.
He stated that the ongoing suffering and loss of life cannot be allowed to continue as long as there is a working and stable government.
“It is incumbent on the Government to ensure that the health of its citizens is prioritised. While we continue to pray for the situation to change, we urge all the relevant bodies to make decisions and take actions that ensure normal medical services are restored without further delay,” he said.
While empathising with doctors’ plight he urged them to resume essential medical duties as the talks continue.
“We appeal to their conscience to be able to resume essential medical services even to a limited extent,” he stated.
On Thursday, striking doctors remained defiant despite their officials receiving a one month suspended sentence from the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union reverted to their hard stance on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2013 saying the only way they will go back to work is if it is implemented.
KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga took issue with the reference made by Justice Hellen Wasilwa that they were as ‘dirty as sewage’ due to their contempt of court and emphasised that they will not call off the strike.
Oluga further described the judgment as flawed and declared that nothing short of the implementation of the CBA will make them go back to work.
He indicated that the Union’s officials were ready to go to jail and stated that nothing would change that fact within the two weeks they have been given to resolve the issue.
Governors on the other hand had threatened to sack the doctors should they not return to work.