HEALTHY NATION A PRODUCTIVE NATION

State must attend to health workers

In Summary
  • If it were politicians asking for better cars, improved medical cover or extra security, their demands would have quickly been met
  • While health is a devolved function, the national government has a major stake because a healthy nation leads to a working and productive nation
A patient gets wheeled to the emergency room for treatment amidst the nationwide doctors' strike on December 21, 2020. Services are still ongoing at Kenyatta National Hospital with referrals from various hospitals
A patient gets wheeled to the emergency room for treatment amidst the nationwide doctors' strike on December 21, 2020. Services are still ongoing at Kenyatta National Hospital with referrals from various hospitals  
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

Health workers countrywide are on strike to push for various demands. Key among them is the provision of PPE to protect them from exposure to Covid-19 and a better insurance cover.

This will plunge the country into an unprecedented health crisis coming at a time when Kenya and the world are battling the second wave of the virus.

The issues the medical workers are raising did not emerge overnight. They have been on the table for long but the government, in its usual pussyfooting, has always postponed or ignored them.

Our health workers, especially those in public hospitals, do a sterling job despite the many odds working against them.

While health is a devolved function, the national government has a major stake because a healthy nation leads to a working and productive nation.

It saddens that funds can always be found for non-priority activities such as BBI and the attendant referendum. 

If it were politicians asking for better cars, improved medical cover or extra security, their demands would have quickly been met.

The challenges facing health and other public servants like teachers are often swept under the carpet, with the government rushing to court to forestall industrial action. While the courts will block the strikes, demoralised workers even if dragged to work will not deliver.

The proposed National Health Commission that will solely deal with issues affecting health workers is long overdue. This will ensure that matters affecting the remuneration and welfare of those in this critical sector are well addressed.

Quote of the Day: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)

The English novelist died on December 22, 1880.