You have probably contributed a thousand shillings or maybe more for a colleague, a friend, a loved one or someone unknown to you
due to a medical bill. You have been moved multiple times by the many people who have to seek public support to travel to India for medical attention. What happened to giving our people medical care they so deserve?
You have definitely wondered why our healthcare system just doesn’t work. Children dying because they lacked a malaria treatment. Cholera invading our homes and taking 250 lives and that sounds very normal to a nation. The waiting hours in public and private hospitals are just sickening and then when you finally get to the doctor, it is too little too late especially for cancer victims or maybe s/he isn’t even a qualified healthcare worker.
For years, the Mwananchi’s cry for healthcare reform has fallen on deaf ears. The doctors’ plea even on deafer ears. The number of strikes by nurses and doctors are not countable. Yet all we do as a people is go about our lives in the comfort that the child who died today isn’t my child or the doctor who missed his salary doesn’t attend to me. For some and especially the Kenyans who have jobs and internet (#KOT), private health insurance has been a consolation driving their thoughts away from the rotting public sector. Until the insurance runs out at an ICU in 5 days. Then a day of rant comes. Same rant is triggered when a cousin calls in dire need or a parent visits the debilitated hospital in a faraway county and receives what millions contend with minute by minute: no health services available! For some may write heartfelt words and get help in India.
For majority of our hospitals you buy gloves, and you carry hot water to take bathe. And food for patients has become a luxury. The ministry of health even has guts to report that only 13 hospitals in the country are worth treating anyone. The managers of Healthcare flash some ‘good’ indicators in expensive workshops. What irony? What hypocrisy? The same managers have international insurance at your expense, they fly to Texas and Florida and maybe South Africa for care. Good use for our money definitely as the people’s silence has shown.
Three years ago, healthcare was dumped to the counties. They say that is devolution. Much without the necessary structures and support that would enable the counties to manage the function. Health can be a huge burden. It is for many countries. Even the developed ones like United States of America. The Kenyan government never got it right for close to 50 years, despite the advantages at her disposal and the donor support. The counties have concentrated on buying equipment or building infrastructure and yet 420,000 lives are still lost every year. We now know well painted buildings and the famous ‘cancer machines’ don’t treat diseases without health workers. Many Kenyans have given up. Dreading illness. But should we?
Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists & Dentists Union (KMPDU) has been in the forefront advocating for improvement in all aspects of health sector. Loudly and rightly so has been fair treatment of the healthcare worker. Now with calls for the standardization of Human Resources for Health management through a Health Services Commission.
Truthfully, healthcare is failed. And we are all suffering. And we all are responsible. Foregoing the duty of our taxes to dig deeper into our pockets for less efficient services. This year 2.8% (59.2 B/2.1 Trillion) of all your national budget are allocated for health, which confirms that health doesn’t matter. And for sure doctors and nurses can be away from Hospitals for 6 weeks demanding for as little as 1.2 Million like in Nairobi, Narok and Kajiado Counties when a county spends 2.5 million buying phones for their executives or MCAs award themselves 6 million each. Your taxes can solve your health problems. That requires that you care. It requires that we discuss soberly then take action on Healthcare.
Healthcare is all our business; not just the doctors or the nurses business. It is everybody’s business. Join in the Healthcare conversation. Join the Action to reform Healthcare. Be the Change!
– Africa Health Report