Opposition leader Raila Odinga has challenged health workers to be more understanding as talks over their demands continue.
Speaking in Kisumu, Raila said the coronavirus pandemic has presented a major challenge for the country leaving its economy in dire straits.
“We are also in a dire situation in as afar as the economy is concerned because of the many months of covid.” Said Raila.
According to Raila, the country is in crisis and health workers should be realisitic adding that not only doctors are dying but even ordinary Kenyans are also dying from Covid-19.
“It is not the time to hold the government at ransom. Doctors themselves take an oath to protect lives. How then do you justify downing the tools when people are dying?” Raila observed.
The calls by ODM party leader coming just hours after a strike by health workers slated for Monday was suspended.
In a statement signed by acting Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) said the 14 days suspension is meant to allow for dialogue.
According to Mwachonda, the decision was arrived at following a meeting of the national advisory council that deliberated on a request by the Senate and the National Assembly’s to suspend the industrial action and give a dialogue a chance.
KMPDU says its subsequent action will be advised by resolutions of a meeting between the Union and members of the Senate and National Assembly health committees scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
The Union however says the strike will be activated on the 21st of December if planned talks fails to yield the desired results.
“If the issues will remain unresolved upon the lapse of the two weeks, the strike will commence on 21st December 2020.” Warns Mwachonda.
Among the issues in dispute include: Provision of adequate PPE’s, all officers categorized as vulnerable groups be exempted from active frontline duty, Comprehensive medical cover, promotions, re-designation and Harmonization of health risk allowance among others.
KMPDU wants among other demands, the employment of 2,000 more doctors while the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) is calling for the recruitment of a further 7,000 nurses. The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) is demanding the employment of 3,000 more clinical officers besides the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), comprehensive medical covers and group life covers.
Over 3000 healthcare workers have so far contracted the coronavirus with over 33 others succumbing to the virus.