By ALLY JAMAH
On Thursday, Medical Services Minister Anyangâ Nyongâo said the Government will invite applications this week to quickly replace more than 30,000 health workers who have skipped work since Thursday last week to push for better pay and working conditions.
Government spokesperson Alfred Mutua also announced the sacking order was in force and asked retired and jobless health workers to report to their nearest health facilities for interviews.
"All illegal striking health professionals who defied the directive by Medical Services minister to report to work have been dismissed," Mutua said in his weekly press briefing.
It is not clear how different cadres of health workers will be recruited and put to work and whether quality of medical services would be guaranteed in the mad rush to replace striking workers.
Mutua said the drastic action was meant to alleviate the biting suffering of Kenyans.
Loss of life
"It is wrong regardless of any disagreement for a health professional to abscond duty and lead to loss of life or suffering. Kenyans will not tolerate this," the spokesman said.
The sacking comes just a day after Nyongâo agreed with workersâ representatives to withdraw the threat of sacking to allow substantive talks to begin. The talks were set to resume next Monday.
This was confirmed by the Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Civil Servants Tom Odege, who led the negotiations on Wednesday at Afya House.
"We agreed with the minister that we cannot negotiate when our members have already been sacked. So the sacking order was withdrawn," he told The Standard.