The government has deployed Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) doctors to Kenyatta National Hospital to handle emergency cases after 290 specialists joined the ongoing health workers’ strike on Thursday.
A source at the hospital said the military doctors came in around midday on Friday and have been making rounds to various departments.
KDF spokesperson Lt-Col Paul Njuguna confirmed that military doctors are offering services at the hospital. “We want to save lives,” he said.
“That is part of our secondary duty and we are answering to a call of duty so as to deal with emergencies and save lives,” said Colonel Njuguna.
In an interview with Nation.co.ke, hospital Deputy Director of Clinical Services Bernard Githae said the presence of military doctors was nothing new.
“We have trainee doctors from KDF who work for us, they are not on strike. It is normal for them to be at KNH, may be the difference is that they are in uniform unlike other times,” said Dr Githae.
When Nation.co.ke visited the hospital today afternoon, more than 10 military doctors in full military uniform were at the accident and emergency unit.
The deployment came as President Uhuru Kenyatta urged doctors not to make innocent patients to suffer even as the government is working to resolve the grievances they have raised.
The President said he was confident that the stalemate would be resolved by the end of the day and urged doctors to have compassion so that patients who depend on them do not suffer.
“I am very hopeful that by the end of the day we should have an agreement. We need to work together because we do not want Kenyans to suffer,” said the President when he addressed doctors at Kericho County Hospital.
He called on the doctors to have a spirit of understanding and to look after the lives of their patients as the dispute is resolved.
Mr Kenyatta said a solution will be reached that recognizes the important role that doctors and nurses play.
The President spoke after commissioning modern medical equipment at Kericho County Hospital including dialysis machines.
He said doctors at the hospital had revealed that private hospitals were now referring patients to the county hospital for specialized treatment.
“The government is working hard to improve medical services in the country, but this equipment will be useless without you,” he told the doctors.
The President was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto and local leaders.