9.3.12

Strike

We may have left Kenya, but it will always be in our hearts.  The difficulties that Tenwek goes through, the difficulties that Kenya goes through--we still feel them.  We hear about them, we pray for them, we wish we were there to help them.  Obviously health care issues are near and dear to our hearts, so it was saddening to hear several months ago that medical officers were on strike.  The MO's (such as the majority of the interns we trained at Tenwek) were striking to try and get an increased salary, as well as better working conditions.  The strike lasted nine days, and it was a trying time in Kenya, to say the least.  We weren't there, so I can't really say what happened from experience, but many of the government facilities had to close down without adequate health professionals.  That left missions hospitals, like Tenwek, to bear the bulk of the patient burden with missionary doctors.  Many of our own MO interns were on strike as well, so there were more patients and less doctors to care for them.  You can read about Kijabe's experience here.  I'm not really sure how the strike ended up resolving.  The MO's all went back to work, and the government promised to look into things.

Now, several months later, the nurses are on strike.  They ask for the same things: better pay, and better working conditions.  The BBC just released an article, revealing that the government has basically just FIRED all 25,000 nurses on strike for failing to report to work.  That was their solution.  A Kenyan friend posted his views on the strike here.

We have always sought to avoid political issues on the blog, so I won't comment about rights and wrongs here.  I won't say that I side with the nurses, or the MO's, or the government, and the opinions shared in the Kenyan blog are not necessarily my opinions.  All I know is that Kenya's medical system, while better than some other African countries, is still in dire need of more doctors, more nurses, more care.  This doesn't seem to be helping.  Change needs to come.  We need  to pray for the country of Kenya, and that ultimately the strikes would be resolved...because the people being hurt most are the poor, the indigent, the sick, the desperate and marginalized of the country.  I await more news...

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