President Uhuru Kenyatta has appealed to nurses to resume work and give the new government a chance for dialogue to end the 82-day-old strike.
Mr Kenyatta was speaking during the launch of cancer equipment at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) on Thursday.
More than 25,000 nurses went on strike on June 5 demanding the signing and implementation of their collective bargaining agreement.
“What crime has the citizen committed? Come we have tea, or meat, we talk and agree,” he said. Mr Kenyatta said that the launch of the cancer machines confirmed the government’s commitment to improve healthcare.
He said that the government would build six new cancer centres in “strategic positions”. The equipment will ease pressure on KNH and improve cancer treatment. Dr Cleopa Mailu, the Health secretary, lauded the President for the equipment, but also appealed for more investment in the health sector.
Dr Mailu told Mr Kenyatta that there were 2,000 in-patients at KNH, “which is more than what it was designed for.” Dr Anthony Nderitu, a cancer consultant at KNH, said the hospital receives 20 new cases every day.
The cancer centre has 100 in-patients and treats more out-patients daily, he said. Most patients prefer KNH to private hospitals because of cheaper treatment.
Private hospitals charge between Sh6,000 and Sh10,000 per day for radiotherapy while KNH charges Sh3,600.