Going through tedious security check-ups has become the norm in Kenya these days. Unfortunately we have to accept it all as it’s being done for our own good. I went to a very popular hospital for an emergency earlier this week and luckily for me, I went with a driver so I didn’t have to stress about where to park. To start with, this hospital has always had issues with parking. It has expanded most beautifully but the planners forgot that with expansion, you definitely need to plan for parking as well.
After having my bag searched and my body frisked (Yes, it was frisked. Just seconds before I got to the security desk, I’d seen someone exuding authority over the security personnel and it seemed like it was not just the bags they would be going through) I made my way to the doctor’s plaza, met with my doctor and got on with what had to be done.
When coming in, I suddenly remembered that I’d been issued with a ticket for parking fees. Because it is the norm at malls, I didn’t think twice about it when issued with it and anyway, I was more focused on getting to the doctor quickly. When I came out, I saw a pay station and asked the attendant when they had started the system for pay parking at the hospital and she said it had been almost two months now.
Up until then I didn’t have an opinion. Like with any other establishment, if they want parking to be paid for, I was OK with it, provided my car was safe and secure. Also, I feel paying parking keeps idlers away so you have more of a chance to park your car comfortably rather than keep going around looking for a spot.
Then came time to cough up the money and I was left coughing a sputtering. Having parked in Central London, I know better than to whine over a petty amount back home for parking but I was not too amused with the amount I had to pay. Fair enough that I can afford it, but this is a hospital, not an elitist club. What about the people who have barely managed to pay for treatment within their four walls? Are they to be subjected to pay for parking fee as well? Can’t there be a system where parking fees can be redeemed for patients at least?
This is not just happening in Kenya. I was reading something that happens in the UK as well and people are getting fed up. They’re told that because there is no parking at the hospital, they park at a designated area and a bus/hopper will take them to the hospital. I was reading many peoples’ accounts on how they’re conned and slapped with fines and they’re protesting against this.
Like I said, I understand money has to be made. I mean, how else will the posh new buildings pay for themselves? I remember seeing a protest about this on Twitter when people took to the microblogging site to express their disgust.
I promise you, I didn’t mind paying for the parking. I was just taken aback at the amount I had to pay for the time I was there. I found that rather unfair — especially for people who cannot afford the parking fees than anything else. I don’t think a hospital is going to change their pay parking procedure just because I’m protesting but I do want managements of all hospitals to know that you guys suck when you drain wananchi like that. Paying horrendous amounts at hospitals is bad enough and stressful too and now there’s parking to think of.