Internal Tug Of War (A Catch 22)...
For the last 11 days Kenyans have been scared of getting ill as the countries health workers have put down their tools and headed to the streets to protest the government’s failure to do as the promised and implement the agreed upon salary increase and to better their dismal working conditions thus sending the sick (those that can afford it) swarming to the much more expensive private hospitals for urgent health care.
The government in their part only served to rail the health workers- by firing all 25,000 of them- and strengthen their resolve to picket for their rights to receive allowances and use rubber gloves while tending to the sick whose lives they once swore to save and heal. It is this struggle between fighting for their own rights and healing the nation that must be weighing heavily on their minds and hearts. This same oath and their ethics were brought into question with the deaths of patients after being turned away by the nurses. Particularly heart wrenching was the double death of a mother that had just delivered and her baby then died at a dispensary in Kinango, Kwale district.
Among their demands are:
· Nurses want extraneous allowance increased from the current Sh7,500 to Sh50,00, which will bring them up to par with doctors.
· Non-practice allowance of Sh50,000.
· Car allowance (night duty) of Sh40,000 and
· A uniform allowance increased from Sh10,000 to Sh40,000.
Someone should tell the Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o and indeed government as a whole that firing striking staff then replacing them with retired members of staff doesn’t really work. It seems that no matter how many times the people try to show our leaders that the will not be cowed or scared by being sacked our leaders keep playing the same tired hand thinking that it will produce different results! What happened to our leaders being capable of foresight, knowing that certain actions will produce certain reactions, usually negative? Is history not the best teacher and why aren’t our leaders examining our past with more care?
The question for those in the health industry becomes whether to peruse the well worth fight to better both the public health industry and for themselves or call it quits for the good of the Nation?