, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – The Senate Health Committee Chairman Wilfred Machage has described the decision by the National and County Governments to sack striking doctors as ‘drastic’.
Speaking at the 4th annual devolution conference on Thursday, Machage who is also the Migori Senator said that the mediation process should have been given a chance as headway was being made in the negotiations.
“Whereas I do not agree with the uncompromising position and very stubborn stand taken by doctors in the negotiations, I at the same time do not agree with the drastic action that seems to be taken by the National and County Governments,” he stated.
He further indicated that the employment of foreign doctors would have a negative effect as they may not be familiar with the various disease strains within the country.
“I think a country prides itself on the resources it has and really having our own medical officers is a pride and really you cannot replace doctors that are trained locally or who have been trained externally but have taken some time practicing locally and compare them to doctors who have been trained in other countries,” he said.
“We have diseases that are specific to this country. These are some of the things that the new cadre of doctors that the government may be looking at may not really serve this country to the level that we expect,” he indicated.
On Wednesday, Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya said the county and the national governments will start hiring foreign doctors from within and outside Africa to replace medics who fail to resume duty.
He stated that the government is no longer participating in the talks to end the doctors’ strike because they have failed to agree since December.
He stressed that doctors who will agree to resume work will benefit from the 40 per cent pay increase offered, but those who opt out will have to apply for jobs afresh because their positions will have been filled.
The move followed a warning by President Kenyatta in Nakuru on Tuesday where he accused them of blackmailing the government.
The Kenyatta National Hospital has already sacked 12 doctors who failed to resume work and 48 others will face disciplinary action.
The Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros warned that all other doctors who fail to resume work will be dismissed.
The KNH is the largest referral hospital in Kenya and is heavily relied on by neighbouring countries.