SAD EASTER FOR KENYA

Dear Comrades,

This address comes at a time of sadness for our country. We take this chance to send our deepest sympathies and condolences for the victims and casualties of Garissa University Terror attack. As a country, we must arise to show courage and anger for the loss of several precious and innocent lives. As a union, we strongly condemn the attack and its intentions but quickly demand the restoration and assurance of security to all citizens of the Republic of Kenya. Big thank you to the doctors of Garissa for being real in times of danger and for your sacrifice even when your own safety is uncertain. Be safe!

Easter should remind us of the doctrine 'Love thy neighbour'. A doctrine that we can all apply at work, at school, at home and with our families. That sense of compassion is the centre piece of any community. It can be the centre piece of our union too. The key point being that; the values of Easter and the Christian religion - compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hardwork and responsibility - are values that we all share and celebrate.

This Easter marks exactly 4 months since you entrusted me to lead us forward. Over those 4 months, the union has strived to right some wrongs meted on doctors. We came into office at a time of exceptional pressure to disregard the doctor and the union both at the county and at the national level. That pressure is still alive. I'm proud though that despite the pressure, we have made clear choices to begin the path of ascend. While change does not occur instantly, the steps to change must begin instantly.

Over 4 months, we met the members of this great union. We have listened to your ideas and taken up your complains. Our branches are gaining strength (again), a process that encountered challenges but that must be successfully completed.
We have ensured regular and timely pay for our Registras. Registras, their spouses and or children can finally get medical care they give and couldn't access.
Post-graduate training for doctors who joined in 2014, full tuition payment from the Ministry of Health has been agreed on and implemented. 
These 4 months saw the return of the NPA. 
99% of interns have personal numbers despite the opposing politics of devolution. 
New group of interns have been posted and pay assured after a month inclusive of the NPA.
The out-going interns posting is smoothly in progress allaying the anxiety that gripped our union for many many months. 
Approximately 60% of medical officers have been promoted. Many still frustrated by their counties. 
The union has been present when and where it is needed. 
Many private sector doctors writing to my office to consult or assist them get their hard earned pay from the ungrateful clinics and hospitals in our major towns. A confirmation of trust in our union.

We acknowledge that the challenges are still bountiful and the sight of our payslips are very nauseating. Our promise as leaders to the ideals of servitude can be affirmed. Be certain we shall get to the promised land. 
My attention has been drawn to the certificate of good conduct, it's cost and some university's pre-requirement for post-graduate admission. I have as well been aware of the internship license fees demanded from our broke colleagues. We have discussed these issues at length with a few board members. While the discussion is still continuing, I do appeal to doctors to suspend their applications until clear outcomes of the consultations are communicated in one week's time. The board belongs to doctors.

To move forward and perfect our union, we need you to be even louder. Not only in reminding the union leadership about your frustrations - as we know them as much as you do - but also in informing Kenya that it must treat and pay its doctors better. For when we shout to ourselves alone we behave like a cyclone, too much activity with no progress. One of those good platforms is Twitter. Follow @kmpdu. Follow your leaders. Follow our online bigwigs. Twitter is where we can contribute to affairs of our country including the sad tale of 147 deaths. Tweet endlessly about your frustrations but especially about pay as that is the single most important agenda we are pursuing. Even as you do so, please pay up your dues. Passion is an ingredient to action, but it can't pay court fines or media campaigns or sponsor doctor events and union activities.

In Mid April, our union holds an advisory meeting (NAC) and every single county shall be represented. Then, our AGM is upcoming in about 2 months. Let your voices be heard.

In unionism, there is no magic wand upon which when waved totally solves all our problems. I'm appealing to doctors, therefore, that the one magic that will end the rut race in healthcare and the problems of doctors is unity. Just like it has always been; solidarity. We should find it wanting that an in-charge of a hospital (and they are many), who faces poor pay and worse intimidation like the rest of us can deter doctors from participating in a protest to get back their denied pay. We must abhor it that our colleagues in various positions as CEC, Chief Officers, etc have little or nothing to offer when the profession is literally being burried.
Can't we develop some ideals of the profession to take care of one another? Ideals to remind us that individualism, independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency have no place in solving complex group challenges. Ideals of humility, respect, responsibility, and sacrifice. Ideals to restore and reform healthcare. Ideals to work together again, with no tensions or barriers of hierarchy. 
As Winston Churchill once said after the death of his opponent, Neville Chamberlain, in the end we are all guided by the lights of our own reason. 'The only guide to man is his own conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions'

God bless you and Enjoy your Easter!

Dr. Ouma Oluga
Secretary General 
KMPDU



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