I am on the verge of tears every time I watch prime time news.
I have been following the doctors strike since it started and I cant help but side with the doctors and cry for the Kenyans losing loved ones at public hospitals that are nothing empty buildings.
They lack basic equipment that would go along way towards saving lives,yet doctors are expected to act like God and somehow save the patients who show up there everyday.
Having worked at the largest referral hospital in the country and even had a chance to do ward rounds with the doctors the few times I was there as a nutritionist,it is a frustrating experience working in the public health sector…
I watched patients share beds,some sleeping on the floor …
And that was at Kenya’s largest referral hospital,what then happens in far flung areas laround the country?
Kenyan doctors in public hospitals really are miracle workers if they have been able to work for so long with so little and been able to send patients home,cured of whatever was ailing them.
But more than the better renumeration and improved working conditions they are asking for,this is a war among two generations of Kenyans.
On one hand you have the seasoned politicians and trade unionists who are the wheeler dealers in the political scene and on the other are a relatively young crowd of doctors,some of the sharpest minds from the best schools in the country.
Who studied through high school,got the best grades and were called to med school,went through five years of medical school,worked on cadavers,graveyard shifts,witnessed all the blood and gore found in casualty wards during internship and finally when they graduated, they realized all their hard work was going to be nought.
Not because they did not work hard enough or love their jobs but because they were working for a government that has skewed priorities.
These doctors whose average age cannot be more than 30 are battling with men and women who have watched over the ruin of the public health sector.
They have watched the way our leaders have placed priority over digitizing parliament when incubators for saving babies remain pipe dreams in most public hospitals.
They have watched the government furnish its Ministers with entourages of fuel guzzlers when for a population of 40 million Kenyans there are only 24 dialysis machines.
They have watched us put up a Vice Presidents residence at the cost of 1 billion Kenya shillings when the government has withdrawn budgetary allocation for post-graduate studies of medical students.
The doctors have watched the way our legislators are pampered with the best in health care insurance,guaranteed even airlifts incase one of them falls sick when doctors in North Eastern province are hanging IV drips from tree branches.
They have watched the way we are spending 200,00 for Kenya shillings for chairs that will be used for 3 days in a week for a few hours by legislators,when we cannot afford to hire pay the same amount to hire more doctors
The doctors have come from a generation of Kenyans that have watched the way politics was played with the issue of taxes by MP’s,where money was miraculously found to pay of their tax arrears.But none can be found to hire more doctors to relieve the work of the 2.300 docotrs who work 19 hours every day for a population of 40 million.
This a war of ideals but who is going to blink first?
Is it the old guard used to getting their way or is it the young men and women fighting for the ideals they believe in?
That the public health sector needs more funding and that the Kenyan tax payer deserves better services at reasonable cost in public hospitals.
How do you believe a government that has pampered its legislators.
How do you trust a government that has not shown it has the will or commitment to fight corruption?
How do you trust a government that says one thing today and another tomorrow?
How do you trust a government that playing games with the life of its citizens?
How do you trust a government whose ministers(the ones in charge of public health and medical services)are nowhere to be seen when the health sector is in a crisis?
In another country they would have resigned,but hey this is Kenya…..
Where Ministers say they would rather die than resign…
Where all traffic comes to a standstill when the top government honchos are going anywhere,creating gridlock sfor hours even before they leave their houses.
Where their entourages are accompanied by police outriders
….. yet public hospitals lack ambulances and sometimes even fuel.
Who is going to be the first to blink in this war that is increasingly becoming more a show of mettle than of words?
Is it going to be the generation of Kenyans that have watched over the rot and ruin in the country or the young Kenyans fighting for a bigger cause ,for somehting they believe in?