Today we look at how the health crisis situation, insecurity and dissatisfaction could act as pull and push forces into or out of the health care professions, on whether to work in Kenya or to out migrate. In the first part of this series we looked at a Kenyan nurse’s fear of post election violence: my tell tale.
Nurses’ strike had overstayed in the course of ongoing campaign trail
This far stakeholders had given the nurses’ strike (now on the 142nd day) a deaf ear and a blind eye. The doctors‘ strike just before that had lasted a 100 days. To the nurse it was a protracted war in itself let alone the prospect of facing an election violence – double or triple tragedy, when you consider that some are not on payroll already.
I believe nothing was causing more disillusion among the nurses than seeing their industrial action that started 65 days to the general election and straddling the two elections. When what the nurses were asking for was something obvious (even if it meant signing the CBA with a promissory note if not everything fiscal could be tenable immediately). The nurses were not the first either, in fact they had just followed suit, why treat them so crudely? Why the discrimination?
The nurses on strike had to plan carefully lest their demos clashed with those agitating for electoral reforms. To the political class, this strike was obviously a nuisance. The politics going on were making it hard for them to get audience with the right people.
For us, the state of health was not as important as the State of the Nation. It was unfortunate that in Kenya the presidential elections and the general elections 2017 ran alongside stuff like #HealthcrisisKe and
Picture: Nurses demonstrating in the Nairobi Business District recently
[Courtesy of KNUN Official Forrum]
It is disheartening for me when I see Red Cross massively recruiting in readiness for eventualities, but then they have to. When there was uncertainty concerning advanced care, because there were no nurses in public hospitals to receive them casualties. You know : Early recognition, Early CPR, Early defibrillation, Early advanced care (I am not about to tell we do not have defibrillators, AEDs stuff here).
Politicking as we put health care on hold
As a nurse I have lots of apprehension when I see the suffering Kenyans go through because of politics taking center stage in everything we do. Some stakeholders even saw politics in the nurses strike. May be they were right to some extent. The amount of vitriol and political undertones trending in some of the nurses’ social media walls was proof enough that this could be so even among professionals. It seems we were not learning from our past mistakes and we forgot easily.
Push and pull forces draining the brains out of health care sector
These among others were credible push and pull forces for nurses out migration. But I have not given up on this country yet and that is why I will stay here though I have my visas and some US education. Stay I will. Like my brethren who can only hope to make it out on foot. Stay and make a difference where I can. This is where I am needed most. So I will stay -though it might not be nobler, haply be safe.
If you have been following my story from last post mine is no account compared to what others went through and might already be going through. Many nurses and other medics suffered so much loss in election-related violence. I can only pray that we do not take the same path this time. See a related post – Health a viable currency for political negotiation here.
Please feel free to share your story with me by dropping me a hint in the contact form below or leave a reply/comments section, I will get back to you.
[Story by Simon Kamau alias Compleat Nurse]