Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Today was a short day, After my experience yesterday i didn't go in to hospital till 9. Result was i arrived late for an emergency consultant ward round. The consultants weren't scheduled to conduct a ward round today however they had to come in as the news of a nurses strike broke. The nurses went on strike at midnight bringing most activities in the hospital to a halt. Heard a story from someone that a woman was in the height of labour in a delivery suite being urged on by a midwife to push. At the stroke of 12 she left to wash her hands and commence the strike, abandoning the groaning woman in labour. Said she: ' I told you to push hard for a reason before 12 now it's past 12 i'm gone on a strike'. Doctors had to be drafted in to do the midwife's job. Same was the case on the wards as the doctors had to take over the duties of the nurses. The team discharged who they could. For those they couldn't, they encouraged the patients' relatives to be involved in the nursing care of their patients. Intra venous drugs were discouraged and no new patients were taken in.

With the nurses strike most of the activities of the hospital were paralysed. The team now had time to critic my history and give me tips on how to improve my technique of interviewing patients. Downside is that patients care suffered and the doctors had to stay in till later than usual. With nothing else to do i left for home today earlier than i'd done before.

Hopefully the strike ends soon and normality returns. However speaking to several doctors didn't reveal a huge amount of optimism. They indicated that things had been deteriorating for a while and that indications were that change is far away from the horizon. I feel that it is rather unfortunate that a government would treat its front line health care workers with such disregard and impunity that they have to resort to strikes to gain their attention and force them to effect change. It's bad enough the situation that they have to work in, but with the relatively meagre pay and unfulfilled promises of raises and allowances a poor situation is made worse. Conversely the leaders get paid all their salaries and allowances well before they are due when the only thing they do really is sit and talk. If they talked about how to affect peoples lives positively maybe they'd deserve their fat pay checks, however they talk about laws banning homosexuality, indecent dressing and certain television programs. Seriously! in a country where many people live on less than a dollar a day surely there are more important and pressing matters to address. I don't support any of the aforementioned vices but a government of many poor people should seek to improve their well being before legislating on how they live. That's my 2 cents!

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