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Put your egos aside and consider suffering Kenyans

 Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) stage their weekly demos along Parliament Road in Nairobi on May 7, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The healthcare crisis in Kenya has created a dire situation for ordinary citizens that cannot be ignored any longer. Countless Kenyans have been left stranded without access to essential medical care because of the ongoing doctors' and clinical officers' strikes. 

Despite several negotiations between the doctors’ union and the government, all have been futile, leaving vulnerable communities in despair and suffering.

The impacts of this prolonged strike are deep and alarming. For many Kenyans, public hospitals are their only option when it comes to medical care. 

This is due to the expensive nature of private hospitals, leaving them with nowhere else to turn to in times of need. Several families have been forced to watch their loved ones endure unnecessary pain since they are unable to afford private hospital medical services. 

The most vulnerable are the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, children and expectant women.

The doctors who are demanding for the implementation of the labour agreement signed between them and the government in 2017, which promised higher salaries, better working conditions and the recruitment of intern doctors, have failed to reach an agreement with the government.

Since their demands have fallen on deaf ears, the government seems to have failed to prioritise the well-being of its citizens. The consequences of this health crisis go beyond the walls of hospitals.

Communities have been left vulnerable to outbreaks of preventable diseases, a rise in maternal mortality rates and chronic diseases go untreated.  Matters are bound to get worse now that the nation is facing a high risk of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera due to floods. Notably, floods carry sewage water and dump it in water bodies used by the citizens.

This situation and the health crisis leave citizens with no option but to face dire consequences in case of disease outbreaks.

The strike is not merely a matter of politics or economics; it's a matter of human dignity and the fundamental right to healthcare access. 

Swift action is therefore needed. As citizens, we cannot stand idly and watch our healthcare system fall apart. We must demand for accountability from our leaders and advocate for a quick resolution.

A lost life is irreversible and therefore both parties have to put the lives of the vulnerable into consideration.

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