The "calling" that is medicine

Doctors working in Kenyan public hospitals went on strike on Monday, 5th December 2016, to demand fulfillment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions. The union says the bargaining agreement was to give them a 300 per cent pay rise, review their working conditions and job structures as well as criteria for promotions, and address under-staffing of medical professionals in state hospitals.

The hashtag #lipakamatender (Pay like a tender) had been trending for a week by the time the over two thousand medics took to the streets on Monday, and it continues, a week later. Now, if you are familiar with Kenyans on Twitter, also #KOT, then you know the passion with which they handle campaigns of interest, and this was no different. If anything, it has been one of the most intense, and going by the tweets, the medics have the blessings of Kenyans to restore the country’s failing public health institutions.

-Poriot Teko‏@PoriotTeko

A Kenyan doctor earns an average of 70 shillings/hour, how much do you pay your Kinyozi (barber) for a 5 minute haircut? #LipaKamaTender

-Daniel Muvengei‏@Muvengei_md

Allowing healthcare workers to go on strike is the worst negligence by any govt #Listen #HealthStrikeDay4 #EndHealthCrisis #LipaKamaTender

-Ciru Muriuki ツ@CiruMuriuki

So doctors shouldn't strike because theirs is a "calling"? They can't pay rent with a calling. #LipaKamaTender

-Sherry.com‏@SherryNganga

Unfortunately the doctor cannot go and cite "passion" as a mode of payment in the schools their children attend #LipaKamaTender

-david atandi‏@Ahtandie

Dear kenyans we are not fighting you but the perennial inhumane employer that is govt. This is your war too #LipaKamaTender

We know, for sure, that corruption really is the root cause of most, if not all the problems the country is grappling with, and Kenyans are calling the government out for this.

-Oliver Cheruiyot‏@OliverCheruiyot

If there is money to loot there is money to pay our doctors. #lipakamatender

-anne gakenia kimani‏@annegakeniakima

A government riddled with nepotism and corruption. At least pretend to care for the poor Kenyan, solve the health crisis. #LipaKamaTender

-Tayiana Chao *‏@TayianaC

And in this case Mr.President YOU are the 'doctor' who has sat by & done nothing as this disease has eaten away our country. #LipaKamaTender

To those bringing up the ethics question, Claire Kinuthia had something to say;

I know a lot of Kenyans, like me, are mourning…

…but I am willing to hold the government accountable, if for nothing else, to save the patient that is the health sector in Kenya. I agree with one Ms. Ngigi, “I want my doctor to have ZERO STRESSES... Children's fees paid, healthcare paid, housing paid, entertainment paid so that when they're on my case, that's all they're thinking about.”

The Jubilee Government came into power with the guiding slogan, ‘Kusema na Kutenda’, Speech and Action. They have failed. The corruption and looting scandals that have plagued the country since they took office, including the recent 5 billion saga at the Ministry of Health, have crippled the country. 

The finest eloquence, they say, is that which gets things done. Enough with all the talking already Mr. President! Sort this out once and for all! #LipaKamaTender

...and I am not just saying this, my grandmother has just passed away.




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