President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked medics to end their strike and give room to ongoing talks to resolve their grievances.
Speaking on Wednesday in Makueni County, Mr Kenyatta - who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto - was optimistic that a solution will be found on the salary issue but lamented the death of close to 20 patients.
“Let us be human and be mindful of the lives of the patients. I am confident that we will find a solution to the problem,” he told the health workers, saying even when an agreement is reached "those lives will have been lost".
His comments, made while commissioning the Kenya Medical Training Centre (KMTC) Makindu campus, mark the first time Mr Kenyatta has addressed the issue even as the health workers' strike goes into its third day.
The Head of State said governors and the Ministry of Health have been working round the clock for weeks engaging the unions to resolve the matter.
However, medics yesterday said that ministry officials failed to show up for a planned meeting at Afya House, making them wait for hours.
Mr Kenyatta said the government has invested Sh400 million in medical equipment at the Makindu hospital.
He also said the national government is keen on partnering with county governments in projects that benefit Kenyans, citing the trauma centre at Makindu Sub-County Hospital as an example of cooperation between the two levels of government.