Medical students held demonstrations in Nairobi on Thursday, in support of the striking doctors while urging the government to meet their pay demands.
The students were drawn from the University of Nairobi’s School of Health Sciences and the Kenya Medical Training College, who have missed crucial classes because their lecturers are on strike. They marched from Kenyatta National Hospital to the Health Ministry headquarters through to the Central Business District, waving placards in support of the striking doctors.
While the government continues to engage the doctors union officials, no solution has been found on ending the strike which started last month. However, the move of students to join their lecturers and professionals from the medical field in solidarity with the cause indicates the severity of the matter.
There are a few lessons the students could learn with the simultaneous doctor’s and teachers strike:
1.There Is Power In Numbers
Medical students choosing to join the other medical practitioners was a show of unity in the field. Finally, Kenyans are aware of the power they have in numbers. No matter how tough the situation, resolving to champion for what is right could be the first step to actually getting objectives implemented. Though we might often think we have little to no power, there is power in numbers.
2. Know Your Value
With the reluctant implementation of the CBA ( Collective Bargaining Agreement) by relevant authorities affects the standard of living of health practitioners, demonstrating a case of professionals being undervalued. As the government, blatantly continues to see only one side of the coin of a very complicated matter. As the nation’s population continues to increase with high reproduction rates, the need for qualified medics is on the rise. For the students who join medical school in the hopes of getting a salary equal to the years of studying and expertise they will gain, the current government offers do little to compensate their efforts. One could argue that aside from the fact that medical practice is a calling, the profession may not fully provide a decent living for its practitioners.
3. You Will Never Be Fully Independent
As they say, no man is an island. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a professional in a firm, state laws still apply to you. When picking out a career, it is important to look for the most flexible option, a career that has unlimited choice. It may seem like a utopian dream, but the fewer constraints you place on your career and your ability to earn a living, the easier your life is. For now, doctors must negotiate and validate their pay rise enduring bureaucratic processes to finally get a better pay.
As many more professionals seek fair compensation, it seems like a cocktail of matters that go into the choice of one’s career, seeking fulfillment or making a large sum.
For the doctors, it seems they might have to choose one.