The disparity in sexual satisfaction as men and women get older is down to this. Men don’t want to learn to satisfy the lady...
We lose Sh2 billion daily to corruption, but have no money for doctors and nurses
Alfred Obengo is the President, National Nurses Association of Kenya. He spoke to The Nairobian about the commonest ailments among touts and best solution to endless strikes by nurses.
Which is the best way of ending strikes by medics in Kenya?
The parties must sit on the negotiating table so that we can talk and find an amicable solution. There is no other strategy. Sometimes, things may look so difficult but when people sit and talk to each other, they become simpler. The strikes have crippled provision of health services from primary level to county referral hospitals denying the common mwananchi health care, which is a constitutional right.
We have a shortage of medics yet many have been sacked en masse. What logic is usually used?
These are just knee-jerk reactions in terms of intimidation but it is not the solution to the current crisis. It’s never going to be the solution. Let them come, sit and solve the main problem which the trade unions have put forth. All parties involved should come back to the negotiating table to enable meaningful dialogue.
There are suspicions the strikes are funded by donors out to keep the government on its toes…
There is nothing suspicious about health workers demanding for protective gears. It’s obviously global. There is nothing secretive about such demands. What is also happening is that if at all there are donors who are funding and then they come and solve the crisis, then, the government is sleeping. I believe that if you have a continuous engagement with your people, these strikes cannot happen. These guys also feel like they have not been engaged. They are viewed like they are trouble makers. If Uhuru and Raila could engage each other hii ni kitu kidogo bwana.
When medics go for three months without pay, how do they survive?
I have no idea and I can’t even tell you how they survive. It is impossible to think how the medics are maintaining their livelihoods to remain afloat. The reason they are on strike is because they have not been paid and that’s why we are asking why should we have medics for three months without pay. It should not even happen in a civilized society and we couldn’t even be discussing such things. It is laughable and somebody told us (President Uhuru Kenyatta) that we are losing Sh2 billion per day and medics are not being paid their salaries. Some things are annoying.
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You were once a makanga. What are the commonest diseases among them and how do they differ from drivers?
I did touting for a month then I went to college. I think that one of the things that affects them are chest infections because some are still young and there is that excitement of hanging on the doors. They start working from 5 am and some of them are not dressed properly so there are very prone to chest infections because of the cold wind. The drivers contract pneumonia and asthma also because of exposure to the wind.
Your dad is a nurse. You are married to a nurse. Explain inbreeding among medics…
That could just be a coincidence so I wouldn’t say that it was something planned. At a given time, I never swore that I was going to marry a nurse or I didn’t apply to be born by a nurse. I don’t find anything unusual about it, it’s just a happenstance. I’m living my life, love my life and adore the people around me.
How did your childhood in Nyahururu influence your adulthood?
I can’t remember much. I must have been a toddler when we left Nyahururu and went to Mandera. I wouldn’t talk about Nyahururu so much but during my latest visit, I went to Thompson Falls and I was very excited. The people are kind and very welcoming.
Could honouring the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2013 end these strikes?
Honouring the CBA is actually a long term solution to all what we are discussing here but we have a situation whereby dishonesty has taken over. People who sign things today and tomorrow, they disown them then they expect us to be honest when they are not honest. You can’t even understand how they operate. Let’s just honour our word.
Did devolving healthcare to county governments create more problems?
We are in an imminent crisis today because of devolved system of government. The welfare, safety, health, terms and conditions of employment of health care workers should not be used as a platform of competition for the two levels of government.
How will things change if the function reverts to the national government?
We have said all along that it’s better to manage the human resource component of healthcare from a central place. It saves money, time and some of this industrial unrest we are facing today wouldn’t be there. If we are in a national government, the Health CS would have solved this issue a long time ago.
What about the stigma around male nurses…Does it exist?
This does not happen so much and I have not experienced this stigma but I hear in some countries that it exists because of religious connotations.
Why has the Health Bill which was supposed to guide the health sector under the new dispensation taken too long to be passed into law?
There are probably vested interest. Recently, the High Court annulled the Act just because of what we are saying. People lock themselves in a room and think they know what Kenyans want. They write the laws without consultations. As long as you bring everyone on board, you will have no problems.
Is our healthcare rigged against common mwananchi?
Our public healthcare is in shambles. Talk to any mwananchi and hear from them because people think we exaggerate to fight the government. There is a lot of showbiz about buildings but there is nothing inside.
The current situation for nurses and doctors. How can it be improved?
Let’s settle this crisis first, employ more health workers and pay them well. The government should make sure that the medics have a conducive environment. We should also have a ‘Handshake’ with healthcare workers, the producers of human capital to enable us share more prosperity in Kenya.
What do you think about the manner in which the industrial action has been handled?
We are deeply concerned by the prolonged nationwide industrial unrest in the health sector, with particular interest to the nurses, clinical officers and all other health care providers. The striking health workers have raised fundamental concerns that should be collectively addressed by both levels of government. The parties should reach a compromise to allow further engagement. The Council of Governors should flexibly engage health workers and give an ear rather than deploying brinkmanship.