Is the Kenyan nurse ‘The Pied piper of Hamelin’ of today? This might be passed as a fair judgment in this writer’s view.
The year 2020 is the year of the nurse/midwife. The National steering committee has set out on four key thematic areas under the acronym REER:
-Remember the Nurse/Midwife
-Embrace the Nurse/Midwife
-Empower the Nurse/Midwife
-Re-invent the Nurse/Midwife
The purpose will be to ensure that the larger society of Kenyans are able to fully understand and appreciate who the nurses/midwives are. The Year of the Nurse/midwife also gave an opportunity to highlight the work they do. These will also be impressing on the public and the stakeholders need to make a critical investment in the health sector. It in their interest of Kenyans that nurses have the right skills set, the right numbers and the right pay.
When I consider the plight of nurses in Kenya, I remember the masterpiece poem ‘the Pied Piper of Hamelin’ by Robert Brownings. Characters: The townsfolk, the city council, the mayor, the Pied Piper, the rats. There were all shapes and sizes of rats -these were the cause of the townfolks’ awakening. But in the process of getting rid of the rats, the urbanites lost their children as well.
In their desperateness, the council had offered to pay the Piper x50 thousand more than what he had asked to be paid.
But as soon as the great match of rats was out of town and drowned, the city council and the mayor as well as the townsfolk reneged on their promise to pay a ransom figure to Whoever would get rid the town of the rat menace. They were too reluctant to even want to pay half of the one thousand the Piper had asked. The council saw it was too much to pay the rascal fellow. They offered him a drink and pottage from the great cook. To them, that’s what he was worth if anything, now he was a lazy, bald Piper. They jested, ” blow your pipe till you burst!”
He only needed to step back to the street, blow his pipe, and this time crowds of kids made it after the piper and up the mountain, they all disappeared. It was too late to offer anything to the Piper, neither silver or gold to his heart’s content.
Moral: the day the Kenyan people will value what nurses have to go through to treat and care for their citizenry it might be too late, but not too far. When they are sick and needy, during disasters they will promise us anything, but wait until they are out of it. It’s almost for free that we do what we do. But that cannot continue forever.
Can we all have happy moments as we wait? Do not quarrel with each other. Do not ‘eat’ our young.
I have done about 8 articles under the theme turbulence in nursing. Looking in retrospect towards the Year of the Kenya Nurse/Midwife: a review