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.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - JOHM MUCHANGI @TheS­tarKenya

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.”

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