By, Muchemi Wachira
NAIROBI, Kenya – President John Magufuli has made a u-turn in his promise for Tanzania to provide Kenya with medical doctors.
He was reported in one of the local dairies “The Citizen” saying he has directed 258 medical doctors who have qualified for employment in Kenya to employed locally.
Magufuli had recently agreed to send 500 doctors to Kenya at the request of his counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Kenyan head of state had made the request as his country has been experiencing a shortage of doctors as a result of a strike in public hospitals.
Kenya’s doctors had gone on strike in December last year over salaries and working conditions. Even after the strike was called off, not all the medics have reported back to their work stations.
On Wednesday Tanzanian Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said President Magufuli decided to make the turnaround after Kenyan Government failed to reach an agreement.
The agreement would have allowed the Tanzanian doctors to cordially work in the neighboring country.
Why Kenya Has delayed in reaching the agreement is after the decision by the Government to hire Tanzanian doctors was challenged in court.
It is a group of doctors who moved to court saying the decision to employ non- Kenyan medical practitioners was illegal.
Consequently Justice Nelson Abuodha of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kenya suspended plans to hire Tanzania doctors and issued the temporary orders.
The matter was to be heard on Wednesday (Today) but by the time of going to press it had not been mentioned.
“President Magufuli has decided that all the 258 doctors who are waiting to go to Kenya should be employed locally. Following the decision we will in due course publish in the ministry’s website names of doctors and areas where they have been posted,” Ms Mwalimu was quoted saying.
Tanzania has 3,800 doctors who graduated in the country since 2014 and have never been employed. That is why President Magufuli had agreed to the request made by Kenya colleague.
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