Kenya Doctor Strike week 11: same tune, another verse . . . bearing witness

This particular strike may feel like in which’s been a lifetime long, however for some in which can be literally true.  The baby above I transferred to our nearest mission hospital the day before the strike started out in December . . . as well as also she not only survived however thrived, back for a check-up visit with her mom.  If she had not been shuttled between Naivasha as well as also Kijabe, two places trying to offer a safety net of emergency care, she could not have lived.  So today, let us bear witness.  This particular can be what health care looks like.  A fragile life plumped out, a mother as well as also her smile.
The little successes help us make in which through the week, week after week, as the strike drags on.  The union-leaders were arrested briefly, sparking a call for all mission/private hospitals to join in closing down.  A few of the biggest Nairobi for-profit places did a slow-down, saying appointments were canceled as well as also doctors were at a “meeting”.  The jailed leaders were released pretty quickly, however no word on change.  The public, resigned as always to a harsh world with little guarantee, trudges on, generating do.  The complexities of the situation make negotiation extremely challenging.  A government steeped in accusations of graft lacks the moral footing to speak for the poor, or justify failing to meet the rather dramatic promised perks (massively increased salaries as well as also allowances, loans, training positions, funding for research).  County governments hide behind the National leaders claiming impotence; as well as also vice versa, all the while continuing to gather in their own benefits as the public institutions crumble.  A health care profession who has currently turned a blind eye (some very painfully as well as also reluctantly, others using a conviction of the righteousness of their cause as well as also their entitlement to a richer life) to un-marked thousands of deaths nation-wide keeps digging in as the stakes become too high to turn back.  The clinical officers as well as also nurses who try to hold up a minimal net of care are blamed by the doctors for disloyalty or overstepping bounds, unappreciated by the public who continue to suffer, as well as also taken for granted by the government who has failed on more promises to various other categories of health care workers as well.  Rumors of more strikes to come.  Bitterness grows.  The narrative becomes more as well as also more about money, about broken trust, about deserving better.
The dry-season air snaps like a tinderbox.  in which feels edgy as well as also explosive.
Today, as I was examining patients as well as also writing notes inside the room with the sickest babies, an unfamiliar nurse entered the unit as well as also chatted with our nursing staff for ten or 15 minutes, in one of the outer rooms.  Surprisingly after a long friendly visit, they then brought a pink blanket bundle in to my room as well as also announced ‘we have an admission for you, a preem.’  I brought the bundle to the bed as well as also opened in which, to see a grey stiff little premature boy, his arms as well as also legs extended in a hypoxic seizure.  He was deathly cold, not breathing, however a heart rate still present as well as also low.  His mother had had a complicated pregnancy in Nakuru, the county seat of our county, a much larger town.  She went into labor at 29/40 weeks, landed at a private clinic as well as also delivered This particular baby at 6 pm the night before, however there was not an individual place in This particular major town in which could agree to admit This particular baby.  The little private hospitals all said they were full, the public hospital was shut down, a pediatrician could not be found, any private clinics functioning said they didn’t take preems.  He was left on the only source of oxygen overnight inside the operating theatre, as well as also then This particular morning someone inside the family figured out Naivasha was open, so put him in a blanket as well as also an ambulance as well as also drove him out to us (about 2 hours).  in which took me a long long time to ventilate as well as also oxygenate as well as also warm as well as also treat him back to life.  I don’t know if the damage was too great, for too long, or if he’s a fighter looking for a miracle.

So, bearing witness Just as before, This particular can be what a strike looks like.  
A vulnerable boy, born 11 weeks too soon, no room at any inn.  Finally as well as also desperately brought to our public hospital, because we have one courageous director who can be trying to be compassionate as well as also moral inside the midst of crisis.  For every baby in which finds us, how many die in their village, or on the way?  Dozens?  Hundreds?  More?
For every emergency Scott has responded to, late night bellies full of blood through a ruptured tubal pregnancy, mothers using a womb starting to tear through a labor in which can be obstructed, babies whose brains are starved for oxygenated blood . . . how many don’t make in which to any care at all?  He just rushed back to do his 51st surgery since we returned in January.  This particular can be just one smallish place.  Multiply in which by hundreds of towns all over Kenya where those 50 life-saving operations aren’t occurring.  Surely the toll can be inside the thousands by currently.
as well as also even though we are working at a punishing pace, we can’t always be there, as well as also we can’t save everyone even when we are.  I lost a 660-gram 25-week baby girl, though she stayed with us about 24 hours.  Her peculiarly bruised head raised questions of whether she was the second baby This particular week who arrived on the scene unexpectedly alive after attempted abortion, to desperate moms.  The staff tells me in which another who died after coming in floppy, seizing, in kidney failure through dehydration, exposed to HIV, was born after two unsuccessful attempts to abort earlier.  We sutured up a 1 1/2 year old who had been raped by her step father.  We are working to revive a 10 year old with AIDS as well as also neglect as well as also hunger.  Passion to stand against This particular tide of sorrow, compassion to touch as well as also comfort in This particular flood of woe, should be the essence of medical care in Kenya.  Evil can be out to crush the vulnerable.  in which can be only by a consistent word of truth, a conscious effort to not love our own lives too much, in which Great pushes back (Rev 12:11).
So, as we plod on into week 12 . . please keep praying.  Revelations 12 carries the image of a baby-swallowing dragon, a mom in labor.  in which’s more than a fanciful dream; in which can be what we see every day.  By pitting one group against another group, the dragon fills its belly.  
What could healing look like?  Leadership in which operates with such integrity as well as also accountability, in which can be transparent.  Decisions about salaries as well as also infrastructure as well as also oxygen tubing as well as also clean water in which are made based on common Great as well as also justice, not personal or tribal or class ascendency.  Scores of young people who enter This particular profession, as well as also stay there, learning through each various other, motivated because they can actually do some Great.  Willingness to work, hard, as well as also rest, regularly.  Teamwork as well as also respect on all levels.  Innovation as well as also trust.
Pray we live to see the day, or at least the first tinges of rose on the clouds of in which dawn.

Kenya Doctor Strike week 11: same tune, another verse . . . bearing witness

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