Kenyan doctors on walkout vent anger through social media

Doctors in Kenya have turned to social media platforms to depict the current state of healthcare in the country, terming it as “poor that has left poor people suffering.”

This is the third week since the doctors strike started in protest at the dilapidated state of public health care. Emergency rooms in some of the public hospitals often lack gloves or medicine, and power outages sometimes force doctors to use the light from their phones to complete surgical procedures, a report says.

According to the doctors, the government through health Minister Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o has refused to respond positively to their demands.

Medical practitioners under the umbrella of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) are demanding for registrar allowance increment to KSh90,000 (US$1,059) per month despite government’s threats to have them sacked.

Twitter’s hashtag #peremendemovement was unveiled to respond to Nyong’o’ s comment, “The government cannot use taxpayers money to give peremende (sweets) to a crying child (doctors).”

Doc Colloh_Wangulu, tweets: “Govt: There are ambulances in every hospital in Kenya. #peremendemovement http://pic.twitter.com/pFHRnc0c sample tht @bettymurungi @IdaOdinga.”

“59yrs post independence Kenya has no pediatric neurosurgeon and the only one training: me, has been fired? #peremendemovement,” kmpdu retweets @ochiengmd

Collins Tim wrote: “It’s only in our beautiful kenya that all blood pressure machines are faulty in the hospital. #peremendemovement.

Tina Njeru says: “Surely “@DrJobMogire: VPs posh new residence cost us over 900m; a modern radiotherapy machine worth 63m is unaffordable? #peremendemovement”

Another tweet from kmpdu said: “It will be a good thing for government to employ 2000 doctors. Who will then immediately join the strike. We got an extreme doctors shortage.”

“When kenyans die some say its is the coursre of fate.we disagree,its because of the poor/nonexistent healthcare.#peremendemovement@kmpdu,” Dr. Kabue Kiriiri tweeted.

The general public also joined in to express their views.

“When you loose a diabetic patient because the relatives could not get a chemist open at 3am to buy insulin and a syringe #peremendemovement,” wrote Jane Nyawira.

Kevin Mose Agwata tweeted that the “Kenyan health system is in the ICU, and Someone is busy trying to switch off the monitoring machines! I support the #Peremendemovement.”

“Achieving vision 2030 when our district hospital lab can only perform a urinalysis and malaria test, HOW? #peremendemovement,” tweets George Musila.

The Kenyan government last week fired 1,000 of the 2,000 striking doctors even with the shortfall of skilled clinical practitioners.

Last year the government promised to implement reforms in healthcare after doctors went on strike. According to the report, at least two patients have died due to lack of treatment since the strike started.

Current statistics show Kenya has one doctor for every 6,250 people, way below the World Health Organisation’s recommended ratio of one doctor for every 100 people.

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