The Tribulations of a Kenyan Doctor

Kenyan doctors and health professionals are set to go on strike citing poor pay and deplorable working conditions. They are demanding a 300% pay increase from the government. This strike closely follows the recent strike by University lecturers that led to the closure of some universities.

It is only recently that the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret was closed due to lack of essential supplies and management wrangles which made the specialists there to stop offering all specialist clinical services as a result.

Public health facilities in Kenya are deplorable. It is notable that the Medical Services Minister could not trust Kenyan hospitals and doctors to treat him after he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer and had to go abroad for treatment. Ironically, the government (via the Medical Services ministry) expects Kenyans to rely on the same health services and expects the poorly paid doctors (and other health professionals) there to be happy and content.

Got this comment by Allan from The Informatics Daktari Blog written by a Dr Judy, a Kenyan Doctor on her post Letter to the Kenyan patient…….(from the Kenyan Doctor)

" Am a doctor too and this is well too familiar a story. Apparently the profession is noble but to be honest Ii don’t feel appreciated or noble. We are unfairly under remunerated compared to our fellow professionals. I could get better terms if I quit today and become a house help in an MP’s house.

We have to toil to make ends approach not even meet and for that we sometimes shamefully run all over town to work for private hospitals that pay as low as 200 bob an hour, even the oldest profession pays more surely, no pun intended. I have never seen a KCB employee doing locum at Equity on weekends or nights.

We are human beings, we need safe and conducive work environments and better terms to motivate us so that we can spend our little time off work to read and do research to improve health care. we need motivation not condemnation.

I have been loyal to the public sector this being my seventh year of practice but all I have is a few shillings at a Sacco and loans to clear. My banker says am not credit worthy. We are paid very late. Our minister doesn’t listen to us. We serve in remote areas and am frustrated every timeI have to give up on a patient because there is no ICU facility and the nearest doesn’t have a space for my patient.

If I have two who need the only available bed at the referring facility you can imagine what am made to do…to decide who to give the bed to based on who is likely to benefit from it…who am I? God? NO!!!!!!!! am a human being. What do I tell the relatives and loved ones of the patient who loses in my God play? That he is going to die because I picked someone else? And worse still am bonded( yes this is bondage) to the government so I cant really leave since they trained me…I was one of the lucky ones since now they don’t.

My fiance being a colleague is stationed 654 kilometers from me and there is nothing I can do about that. We are expecting our first baby and I would just wish she can move to a facility near this one. The ministry of medical services has some really nice staff but as many will testify, most of them will make you dread visiting there to make such requests….

Enough said…we just need some respect from our caller( this is a calling I heard a long time ago), our employers, our patients who are the clients who give us something we love to do and we need better working conditions so that we can serve them better and look at what other people are doing in the currently rapidly changing world of medicine, surgery, pharmacy, nursing and dentistry

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