DP Ruto hits out at Raila Odinga over health workers remark
Deputy President William Ruto has hit out at former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on his recent remarks over issues relating to health workers and combating COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
According to Dr Ruto, seeking to push the issues affecting the health sector on the face of a pandemic that has negatively affected the economy and caused deaths is the highest level of irresponsible leadership.
“It is reckless for anyone to say the political matters including the proposed constitutional reforms (under Building Bridges Initiative) are dealt with before the issues raised by health workers are addressed yet we are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Dr Ruto.
The DP stated that leaders must get their priorities right as Kenyans are in the middle of a pandemic that has created a risis in the country.
Mr. Odinga had told health workers to review their demands and put them on hold until the constitutional review process and COVID-19 curve is flattened as the country is faced with an economic crisis.
Dr. Ruto responded saying: “Our focus should be on equipping health workers with PPEs and pay them the salaries and allowances. County governments should prioritize and deal with the issues raised by doctors, nurses, clinical officers and other cadre of medics who are in the frontline fighting COVID-19 outbreak.”
He said the national government had directed the health ministry to work with the leadership of the medics to address the issues raised as they are the only frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic.
Dr Ruto said the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which had been detained by detectives in an ongoing investigation over alleged procurement anomalies would immediately be released to health workers.
He was speaking at Kericho Golf Club during the funeral ceremony of Col General(Rtd) John Koech.
“If our health systems were working properly, it is possible General Koech would have been saved and he would still be with us. We should prioritize health issues as leaders,” said Dr Ruto.
He said there is a need to take life expectancy in the country to a higher level as envisaged under the Universal Health Care (UHC) rolled out by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“We should not take the advice of health professionals seriously including social distancing, wearing of masks and hand washing so as to curb spread of coronavirus in the country,” said Dr Ruto
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Kericho counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot said the call on doctors by Mr Odinga to end the strike, review their demands as they were not the only ones affected by the pandemic was unfortunate coming from a leader of his stature.
“We should not be distracted by politics but put our focus as leaders on combating COVID-19.It is important for you (Dr Ruto) to sit down with the President and sort out the issues afflicting the society especially the health sector,” said Mr Murkomen.
He added: “It is important that you deal with Universal Health Care and pay medics the salaries they are demanding, give them personal protective equipment as they are in the frontline combating COVID-19 .”
Dr Ruto said “We have come here to mourn a departed great Kenyan and celebrate his service to the nation and society. He mentored people in many spheres in the military, business and family units,”
Also present at the burial ceremony were Paul Chepkwony (Kericho Governor); Susan Kikwai Kericho Deputy Governor); Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet Senator); Millicent Omanga (Nominated Senator); Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho Senator); Florence Bore (Kericho Woman Rep); Nelson Koech (Belgut MP); Johana Ngeno (Emmurua Dikirr MP), Silvanus Maritim (Ainamoi MP) and Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat.