Health takes centre stage in debate

Kenya’s Presidential candidates battled it out in a debate held Monday for the 4th March vote where more than 14 million Kenyans will go to polls to elect the president of their choice in an election that will be one of the most complicated and crucial in the 50 years since Kenya got her independence in 1963.

The debate kicked off on the emotive subject of ethnic-based mobilization of votes along the 47 counties, whipping ethnic emotions that have been blamed for past election-related violence and the reforms needed to stop it worsening,to the most crucial issue that is healthcare plans for each of the candidates.

However, it is health that brought the debate back to a somber discussion with each candidate explaining how his or her Government would address the failing sector that has been blighted by multiple strikes and lack of equipment. Mudavadi, a presidential candidate in the Amani coalition, said that his Government would work closely with the private sector if Kenya is to deal with the health sector sincerely and that it must be respected in the devolved governance.

Raila Odinga of CORD said his Government would ensure medical care was available and affordable to all Kenyans. He said that his Government would transform the public sector within the first 100 days of taking over the government to allow it to re-invest the funds into education and health.

Odinga said CORD would invest in a universal healthcare since he believed Kenyans were willing to pay more for better health services. “We are saying antenatal care services would be free completely. We want HIV services to be free,” he held. He added that his Government would borrow from the US the universal care plan to implement in Kenya.

Peter Kenneth of Eagle held that his Government would deal with medics professionally because that’s the only way to eliminate streamline the secctor. He insisted that Kenya must invest in health care since the population is exploding.

James ole Kiyapi presidential candidate of Build and Restore Kenya party (RBK) said his government would increase salaries, get doctors to get down to the people, increase prevention care, food quality and management and stop the high dependency on donors, especially in the treatment of the HIV/AIDS. He argued that poor healthcare is linked to environment and management of resources.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the jubilee coalition presidential candidate, said his Government would build a referral hospital in every county for better health services and make them easily accessible by the people. He added that when elected, Kenya will move to a regime of universal healthcare in the shortest time possible.

Martha Karua, the Presidential Candidate of the National Alliance Party (NAK-Kenya), said her Government would build a national health infrastructure and ensure it is able to avail equipment to the hospitals as lack of proper equipment is one of the reasons why health workers are going on strike.

She emphasized that there was no reason why everybody to run to Kenyatta National Hospital when we have the power to deliver efficient health care in our district hospitals which have been run down by corruption and theft of public funds. Her government will ensure free health care services to all Kenyans when elected the 4th president of Kenya.

Dida if elected the next president of Kenya said he would seek preventive methods for better health care in this country while Paul Muite of Safina insisted on the importance of having doctors using motorbikes to reach and help patients like in S.Africa as Kenyans are losing their lives before the right time due to diseases that can be prevented.

AID Village Clinic closure a setback to Maasai Community

Hospitals-and-Health-CentresThe closure of Mbirikani AID village clinics in Kajiado County is not only a setback to the achievements made so far in the Maasai community health outcomes but to the general health and medical fraternity.
The AID clinic was launched 12 years ago and since its inception, it has offered comprehensive medical care and public health services free of charge to all residents in a population of approximately 100,000 pastoralists.
It had employed an all-Kenyan staff of 160, including physicians, health professionals and support staff .The hospital could see more than 3,300 patients per month and treated more than 3,750 HIV/AIDS patients with life-saving antiretroviral therapy. It also provided care to those with other diseases, including malaria, amebosiasis, eye diseases, neonatal sepsis, skin and upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, TB, brucellosis and STDs. The Hospital also cared for those with injuries from accidents, animal attacks and other acute and chronic conditions.
The closure  of the clinic is  a major blow to the Maasai community that lives around Mbirikani area .It is high time the Government puts aside daily policking to focus on what is more important to the people of Kenya, and make sure that the doors to health care for the people remain open.
Political leaders need to prioritise the people that put them in power and give back to the society. Many Mbirikani residents will have to travel long distances to access health care services while many will not afford because of the travelling expenses and medical bills. This could lead to a rise in deaths of patients who are HIV positive as they will not access their anti retroviral drugs easily.
Mbirikani Hospital was a 24-room complex that included exam rooms, a fully-equipped laboratory, a pharmacy, a 48 bed in-patient unit for seriously ill patients, a TB diagnostic and VCT counseling center, staff and visitor quarters, cafeteria, storage facilities, complete electronic medical records system and state-of the art x-ray and ultra sound equipment which is hard to find in such a marginalized community.
Mobile clinics also operated from two Airstream trailers outfitted with portable labs and exam rooms. Home services and visits were conducted by trained Community Health Workers, who travelled by motorcycle for education and prevention outreach activities and to see patients who were too ill or living too remote to come to the Hospital. Medical and public health consultants from major U.S. academic medical centers also visited and conferred with Hospital staff on a regular basis.

Party primaries: Where were the women?

women politiciansIt is two months since the political parties signed a pact on the protection of female candidates against abuse by their male counterparts during political campaigns.

Despite the agreement, the rights of women candidates were infringed upon during the political parties primaries, which were held on January 17 and 18. This is proof enough that women have been denied their democratic rights, including contesting for political positions.

Women in some parts of the country were subjected to abuse; they were either physically assaulted, raped or verbally abused because of their gender and some were rejected on the basis of their customs.

In Nairobi County at Embakasi constituency, a contestant for ward representative was raped by a gang of unknown men while another aspirant in the same area was attacked by supporters of  his opponent.

In Kandara, a Parliamentary apirant on a TNA ticket, Alice Muthoni Wahome found her names written on packets of condoms with a warning to voters not to elect her since she was bent on imposing family planning on them.In Nakuru County, Keziah Gina was not spared either as she received death threats from her opponents and was forced to stay in hotel rooms for her safety.

Traditional cultures were mentioned as being the biggest obstacle in a achieving democracy in this country when it came to women with the revoking of Millicent Omanga Nyaboke’s nomination as a running mate for Ferdinand Waititu who is vying for Nairobi’s Gubernatorial seat on a TNA ticket.

Officials from TNA claimed that the abagusii community elders said that Millicent was not fit to be the governor’s running mate, a move that Millicent says will be and is a violation of their democratic rights.

Speaking to reporters at her office, director of the Center for Multiparty and Democracy (CMD) Njeri kabeberi, criticized the practice, saying that it is an unlawful act and a violation of women rights and democracy, she said for Kenya to be democratic women must be embraced and accepted in leadership.

Vernacular radio stations can stop negative ethnicity

community radioRadio is the most popular and easily accessible medium in Kenya with 95% of Kenyans regularly listening to radio. By June 2011, according to official figures, there were 96 licensed FM radio stations on air with 48 percent of them based in Nairobi and nine community radio stations in the country. The number of vernacular radio stations has also increased since the first vernacular radio station Kameme fm was launched in the year 2000. According to a Kenya advertising research foundation report, as of June 2012, 55 percent of the top 20 radio stations in the country were vernacular radio stations. Today there is a variety of commercial state-run and community based local language radio stations. Thus the question; what is the role of vernacular radio stations in Kenya today especially now that we are heading towards the general election? Do they have what it takes to educate the masses on election and their rights to vote as a citizen of this country. Many a times,  people have declared that the blood of tribalism is thicker than the blood of baptism as many Kenyans will first introduce themselves as so and so and at the back of our minds we have prejudged and associated them with a particular tribe whether they have told us where they come from or not and this is the same case with vernacular radio stations; they are biased, manipulative and subjective. Their only desire is to inform a particular tribe  and have never bothered considering airing some of their programmings to reach a greater audience. As we approach the March 4 elections many people are depending on the media to inform them objectively regarding the election processes. However vernacular radio stations have been criticized over their biased reporting on a particular candidate or political party. Such criticism was widely witnessed during the aftermath of the 2008 post election violence. They (radio stations) tend to build solidarity within the ethnic background where they influence their audiences as they give information that is divisive. They sacrifice professionalism for ethnicity as the information disseminated to the audience is more subjective than objective. These stations can never be a platform for cohesion as the people of the target community are still as uninformed as they were when the stations were not there. The media owners should be objective when they start these stations with their sole goal being to inform the people in their local language; they should bring in programs that are national oriented focusing on research to know what really affects their community in general. We all respect our different indigenous languages and we accept and embrace the royalty and nobility they deserve as we cannot deny that its part of us and will forever remain so. We know ethnic relations in Kenya are cordial in the election year whereby our politicians bring in their agendas based on what their communities believe and pride in and eventually embed this same character into our media houses especially our vernacular radio station. We are all proud of our diverse ethnic backgrounds and this year, we should embrace the spirit of togetherness as one Nation with the tribe called Kenya as this is what will build Kenya .

Importance of rightful thinking.

imagesHave you ever thought how your thinking affects the way you feel and subsequently the way you behave? We know that our mind process and incubates the thoughts in our mind, this is the place where thoughts become ideologies and eventually builds philosophies that govern our decision making and our lifestyle. That is why it is important to know and learn the necessary steps that will take us from mediocre thinkers to become extra ordinary strategic thinkers. Let me break down the meaning  of strategic thinking, according to the dictionary  a” strategy” is defined as the style of thinking which sets a course of action that promises a winning future ,and “thinking” is simply to consider things carefully and understand what is important and what is not.

Many of us ignore thinking as an important aspect in our day to day running, whereby it can help us in learning to control our words, we know thoughts are powerful ,but your words are more powerful  because once spoken, they cannot be taken back, negative words not only affect ourselves but the people and the world around us. You have in many occasions uttered words without consciously thinking words of negativity towards things and people that you feel are inferior to you. While positive important words are those that speak life bad words speak death unto someone’s ego, life, work and their self being. As much as people ignore the power of the tongue it can make or break you.

Positive words make all things beautiful speak negative words they result into negative thinking,as by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. If you desire to be named among the successful people in the word, you must learn to speak words that build all areas of your life, words that will open doors of possibilities to you.

Burn all negative words from your vocabulary because they have the power to transform you. Strategic thinkers are known by the words they speak

Women still shy away from disclosing abuse.

stop-violenceThere are many local, national and international organizations that have been set up specifically to raise awareness to fight    against all forms of violence and abuse to women and girl child. Everyday a woman is likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to get cervical cancer as everyday a female is beaten, belittled, raped, forced into prostitution, and forcefully married off at an early age. All these acts of injustices are a form of hatred towards women. Women need to know their rights and they need to stand up for themselves and say no to gender based violence, women need to fight against these forms of brutality and violence against women. My neighbor is always a victim of this injustice, its worrying to know that she is a house wife with no job nor training of any kind that could help her get a job or have her  money , and I ask myself do women encourage such acts? Can the lack of employment be the reason why she is beaten ruthlessly as she asks for money or what could be the problem? As a third party I can only sit n listen to the fight until it’s over, even though it always end up with one of them heading to the hospital. Such women need to be empowered so that they can become independent and do away with men that abuse them day in day out. We know that Gender based violence is any form of harm enacted against a person’s  will that is the result of power imbalances that exploits distinctions between male and female and most of the time women are the victims . These forms of brutality are likely to end up badly where women are killed by their spouses, partners, lover’s etc.Women who are murdered as a result of violence and abuse is because they tend not to utilize these organizations put in place to help them overcome such issues. Many women tend to hide what they are going through, they don’t want t disclose that she is being abused to the authorities in fear of what might happen if the accused is punished. Keeping silent just sterilizes more harm, women need to stand up for themselves and realize the age of gender based violence has passed and they have all the rights as men to do whatever pleases them no matter of their gender. This should be stressed especially now that we are heading to the election year; we do not want history to repeat it self, 2007 post election violence left many women traumatized. As the tragic reality  of what happened in 2007 in Kenya cannot be accepted or ignored particularly because young girls and women were systematically  being raped in front of their fathers   and brothers  this is an act of injustice  which should not be repeated or ignored .