As the doctors strike in Kenya enters day 60, i just have to share this to the Citizens of Kenya so that you wake up. Health Care is not a privilege but a right to all Citizens!
By Dr. Onyimbo Kerama.
Last year, 2016, I attended a medical camp organized by Dr. Amakove Wala . The medical camp was in Huruma, in East Lands, Nairobi. I saw poor people.
The people who came for care were so poor to a point I concluded that I am actually detached from normal mwananchi.
That was the second time I felt elitist. The first was when I read that at least 6 million Kenyans play Sportpesa daily. Which people are these? Is it a generational gap?? Am I that old?? Anyway I digress.
The people I attended to were so poor, I could not even relate to their suffering.
Two cases were most desperate.
Kenyan 1 – this young man, about 30 years. He was unemployed. Two days prior to our free medical camp, he was knocked by a Matatu. The side mirror of the Matatu had knocked him on his right shoulder and he sustained a shoulder dislocation. He didn’t seek medical care. Reason? He didn’t have money. So he decided to wait for the free medical camp. He was in great pain. I looked at the young fellow and saw a man in great pain distress. It was dehumanizing. I gave the fellow some little money and sent him to hospital where he could get intervention with some pain control.
Kenyan 2 – a 25 year old Kisii man. Let me describe how he presented himself. People were queuing so that they could get an opportunity to be seen. I noticed a man so weak, he could not stand. I asked the logistics guys to get him to the front of the queue. He sat in front of me and kept quiet. I allowed him some time so that he could catch his breath. He was so wasted. He must have weighed 35kgs. Max, 40kgs. I was almost sure he had tuberculosis especially with the respiratory distress he had.
After a short discussion, I learnt that he had travelled from Kisii to Nairobi looking for a job. When he got to Nairobi, he fell ill and was taken to KNH. There, he was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus and was started in insulin. He was then discharged. He tried looking for a job but didn’t get lucky. He was forced to sleep in a church. The security guys in the church chased him away and he was forced to sleep in the streets. His insulin ran out and he didn’t have money to get more. By the time I saw him, he had missed insulin for 3 weeks. He reported of eating once in two to three days. He was dirty. He was so so wasted, I could not believe it. His spirit was broken. He didn’t look hopeful at all. When I told him I am also Kisii, he tried crying , but was to weak to do so. Gosh. Poverty had dehumanized him. Zero dignity. I could not believe it. He looked resigned to his fate.
I tried to relate to these my fellow countrymen, but I couldn’t. This Kariobangi Huruma Mathare fellows. I could not relate kabisa. How does one get a shoulder dislocation and then decides to endure the pain and wait for a free medical camp for assistance. I couldn’t. I then wondered, if I cannot relate/understand such poverty, can President Uhuru Kenyatta?
The doctors strike now on day 60. Day 60 guys, day 60. There are people who rely on the GOK health services 100%. Where are they now? where do they get treated? what are they doing now that public health care system is not functioning?
GOK HAS FAILED.
The poor have no rights!- Poor? You are a Nobody!!
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