December 18th 2017

Society / Health & Science

Uhuru urges medics to be 'humane' as opposition demands govt pay up

He spoke after commissioning Kenya Medical Training Centre (KMTC) Makindu campus and launching medical equipment at Makindu sub-county hospital. Uhuru pointed out that Health ministry officials and governors have been working round the clock for weeks to resolve the matter.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 07 Dec 2016 18:40 EAT

President Uhuru Kenyatta today asked health workers to end their strike and give room for their grievances to be addressed. The president expressed concern at the deaths of close to 20 patients and said a solution will be found. He regretted the loss of lives stating an agreement will not change this. "Let us be humane and mindful of the lives of the patients. I am confident we will find a solution,” he said in Makindu, Makueni County.

He spoke after commissioning Kenya Medical Training Centre (KMTC) Makindu campus and launching medical equipment at Makindu sub-county hospital. Uhuru pointed out that Health ministry officials and governors have been working round the clock for weeks to resolve the matter.

The president underlined that much can be achieved with focus on health and other sectors including agriculture. He reported that more than Sh1 trillion has been allocated to counties since 2013, when he and DP William Ruto took office. On infrastructure, he said his administration will continue implementing projects that will attract investors to create jobs for the youth.

Citing the Makindu hospital, Uhuru said the government has been keen on partnering with county governments in projects that benefit Kenyans. He noted that Sh400 million has been pumped into medical equipment for the facility, and said the establishment of the KMTC would help improving healthcare in the region.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana said the hospital will go a long way in boosting capacity to treat patients in the county and those people Mombasa–Nairobi highway. He asked the national government to plan for the provision of water in Ukambani. He proposed the construction of dams and water pans to alleviate shortages.

Elsewhere, Kanu leaders asked him to pay medicts to end the strike and prevent more deaths. Led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, the politicians said it was not in order for Uhuru's administration to say it cannot afford to pay the workers. Mr Moi said this cannot be the case yet billions of shillings were stolen from the National Youth Service and the Health ministry.

Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the government should stop misusing money meant for doctors and nurses. "They have the power to pay the doctors and nurses. But this will be achieved only if they stop the rampant cases of corruption," he said.

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng'eno said that the medics should be accorded their rights as Kenyans. "Doctors should have been paid a long time ago rather than sacrificing the lives of innocent Kenyans " he said.

Jonathan Bii, the party's Rift Valley coordinator, said those in power must come up with measures to curb corruption so that the different sectors can benefit. They addressed the public during a youth fundraiser in Kabarnet town, Baringo County on Tuesday.

At a separate function nearby, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen urged the doctors to return to work as the issues they raised were being addressed. "It is not fair to endanger the lives of Kenyans. This means we love money more than life," he said.

Mr Murkomen said the Council of Governors and the Senate health committee will discuss the stalemate. But he told the doctors: "Our moral values are going down the drain if we can't bring values back to this nation." He noted that theirs is a calling.

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi said the doctors should exercise patience.

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