Wednesday, 24 April 2013


“ If the frog came out of the water and told you that the crocodile is sick, would you not believe him?”
Chinua Achebe

The very first Minister For Health chosen by the older Kenyatta was Prof Mungai, a surgeon it is that many would find hard to match his credentials. History is replete with many such astute managers from within the medical profession. Subsequent appointments have had expediency and clumsy arguments that overshadowed basic logic. The most recent scenario (which I hope not refer to) has elicited a myriad of feelings. It has however turned a blind eye to our history and experiences as if to relieve ourselves the responsibility of making things right.

What cannot be lost in this entire melee is that the Kenyan doctors have raised some dust. Dust that hitherto has only been known  as the final ‘rubber stamp’ to your patients. From dust to dust.

The definition that  a doctor is that laid back, bespectacled bore, in pants two sizes too big, that paid little to no attention to the winds outside the medical classroom no longer holds. 

Neither does the stereotype that the senior doctors remain to be the Mercedes-driving, latte-sipping and white-wine drinking fellow with little propensity to demand a wrong be corrected.

I am a most proud doctor today. Proud of my colleagues who have chosen this path less travelled before. Previously such incredulous appointments have been met by sighs of indignation and resignation to fate. Not today. Who wouldn't be proud?

While the choice might be forced down despite the fight, we must walk ahead with our heads high, preserving our dignity for yet another day.

Our cause is just and straightforward to those who might dare to understand the details, maybe most people won’t, but that alone does not mean that we are wrong.  Twitterati will blaze with simplistic imagery flowing with a deficit of decency, but isn't ignoring such that made you emerge to become a doctor. You have ignored many gross situations in your field of service- you have ignored a dead patient by your side and swiftly moved on to save another life. The power of learning to move on. It won’t be so difficult to ignore such.

At the end of it, you will have washed off the guilt of the sin of omission; you will not hide your face when asked in future why you did not speak out. .  You did not give a couch-plus-remote-in-hand kind of commentary. You spoke about what you know, not what you hear.

Your direct beneficiaries remain the people of Kenya, you have given your advise from a point of both knowledge and information, they either take it or leave it. just like it happens when you are taking that patients consent, you tell them, you advise them, beyond that, its upto them. A medic Cabinet Secretary will not increase your salaries exponentially, neither will he lessen your burden of responsibilities. You were not doing this for yourselves, anyway.

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