FREDRICK OUMA OLUGA: SURGEON USED A ‘MULIKA MWIZI’
FREDRICK OUMA OLUGA / A few weeks later, Oluga was forced to deliver another woman with no gloves because the district hospital had no money to buy new ones and the pregnant women did not bring a pair.
Of course the biggest mafia in Russia has always been the government; in Soviet times, the Communist Party, and now a circle of former KGB and FSB. Martin Cruz Smith American writer
ONE night Fredrick Ouma Oluga was in the middle of a caesarian section at the Vihiga District Hospital when the lights flickered and then went out.
The hospital’s generator should have kicked in immediately, but there was dead silence. And total darkness.
“Are we going to die?” Asked the terrified woman, who was in regional anaesthesia.
Oluga was then 27. He had graduated from Moi University in Medicine and interned at the Kijabe Mission Hospital.
His experience at the wellmanaged Kijabe Hospital did not prepare him for the shock in Vihiga this night of August 2012.
“I owned a ‘mulika mwizi’ phone. So I switched on its torch and someone held the phone for me as I carefully proceeded with the surgery,” he recalls.
Turns out there was no sabotage: The hospital owned one rusty generator that regularly broke down. Well, the woman and her baby lived.
A few weeks later, Oluga was forced to deliver another woman with no gloves because the district hospital had no money to buy new ones and the pregnant women did not bring a pair.
This was the situation across the country. That same month he offered himself for election as Western Kenya branch chairman of the nascent Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union. He was elected KMPDU chairperson.
Two years later, in 2014, he was elected the KMPDU national secretary general.
“Doctors want an environment conducive for their work. And patients want to be able to access doctors. We try to marry both,” he says.
What does he feel about the suffering of patients, when doctors strike yet they swore to protect life?
“We are a public interest organisation more than a union,” he clarifies.
A strike only comes about after all avenues of negotiation have been exhausted.
All their demands are in the public interest, anchored in confidence in public health facilities.
In their first major industrial action in 2012, the doctors listed 13 demands mostly concerning improvement of health facilities. They did not ask for a pay rise.
The government responded by forming the Musyimi Taskforce that recommended a Sh60 billion upgrade of health facilities across the country.
“DOCTORS WANT AN ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE FOR THEIR WORK.”