Stand Up, Speak Out – Your Health Matters

“Use your voice. You are at the table because people want your voice and point of view there. ” – Ruth Porat, Alphabet CFO

At any one point in time we are occupying some space and that’s ton-load of power. It’s untapped power waiting for you to tap into. Question is whether you’ll get the right moment to do so. In a video interview at Stanford University of Ruth Porat, Alphabet CEO, she says that we all have some power inherent in us and in whichever space we are it’s upon us to add our voice to the discourse and share our perspective. On the same account, timing matters. For everything we wish to do, we need the will and the means. Most times we have the will so it’s important to plan ahead and be in the right places at the right time to execute.

It’s not everyday we witness changes and the power of our voices until we use them. It’s one thing I’ve realized this day. Often times we exist with people in different spaces i.e. homes, families, workplaces among others but often than not we conform to what’s expected of us. We play the modesty card not to raise eyebrows or let people question our mannerisms yet we may not agree with the turn of events. Over time it becomes too much and we feel like there’s need to act but in certain situations we never have the privilege to be there to add our voices. That happens to be a lost battle.

In the current space I’m concerned and worried as a person when we witness the level of mismanagement of public resources, blatant disregard for the needs of the citizens and prioritization of politics at the expense of the public. How far must it go for us to realize that we are by ourselves as citizens? Having a government that claims to care for its citizens yet can’t look after their healthcare needs isn’t one to trust. A government that’s rolling out collection of signatures for a constitutional amendment that doesn’t cover for the needs of it’s citizens at the expense of their immediate wellbeing is a fallacy of a government.

At the outset of COVID-19 in March 2020, there were drastic measures that were taken to contain the spread of this disease. Unfortunately, politicking was more important so when the drumrolls were on, containment measures followed suit in being relaxed. On the backdrop of this, the hope of the nation was on having isolation centers in counties that were enabled to offer healthcare services to those who contracted the disease. This didn’t come to be. On the same note, there was a provision for the frontline soldiers to be paid a risk allowance during the first three (3) months, to this day it hasn’t been released five months down the line. In the past week, we’ve lost colleagues in the medical fraternity to this very disease and while this is happening; there are shortages in PPEs, health workers don’t have an insurance package for health they are in the frontline to offer to the public, the national insurer, NHIF has let go of responsibility of caring for COVID-19 costs. There’s more to be narrated but then however far it goes, we won’t bring back the dead so I’ll let it settle in at this.

It’s terrible altogether but I do believe that as we learn on this platform we can do something together and I’m calling on you to use your voice. You deserve quality healthcare services which is dependent on empowered healthcare workers. This is not feasible with dead doctors, so you need to act to ensure they are protected to be able to offer care at their work stations. There are over 3000 unemployed doctors in Kenya yet we have a shortage of healthcare workers. Ask for more doctors to be employed, it’ll be in your best interest to know there are doctors to treat you when you fall sick.

NHIF is our ultimate financing partner for UHC. Unfortunately, UHC isn’t exclusive of COVID-19. If you are to access healthcare services when and where you need them without suffering financial hardships, then your need should be catered for. What makes it impractical to cater for your COVID-19 management costs? (Subtext: 80% of those suffering from COVID-19 are either asymptomatic or require basic treatment with antibiotics, painkillers and multivitamins majorly. The remaining 20% may need specialized treatment depending on severity of their condition. In this case with the current numbers, if we tally those in hospitals for whom there is need for rebates by the insurer for care, it’s highly likely to be below the threshold to decline cover.) You need to add your voice to the discourse and ask yourself what really matters and if it does, are you willing to take charge to be counted?

How do you get involved?

  • There is power in social media, tweet under the hashtag #HealthWorkersLivesMatter and let’s drive action.
  • In your environment, create awareness about this plea to your colleagues and friends so that we are all informed of the current status of health. Ask them to join in as well.

Finally, you have a choice, BBI or Your Health. If you choose your health, ensure BBI report if it is to pass provides for a Constitutional Health Service Commission. Otherwise, you may as well sign your death sentence and other Kenyans.

Thank you.

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