Laughable hypocrisy: Kenya’s healthcare system needed a virus to improve?
Probably today or during the week, the Government of Kenya, in a press conference will confirm more cases of Coronavirus in Kenya.
It’s not a question of ‘why?’ but ‘why not already?’ Where was the leadership?
Kenya, at times, has looked arrogant, uncaring, aloof, unbothered.
Perhaps there is a silver lining in a sea of dark clouds. Perhaps the coronavirus pandemic could narrow one gaping inequality in Africa, where some heads of state and the elite fly to Europe or Asia for healthcare unavailable in their locations.
But first, it is one bad news after the other with Africans abroad being the subject of racism where they have been evicted from their homes and banned from hotels and public places on the premise that they are spreading the virus.
Again, our leaders have been called out as turning a cold shoulder, ignoring the plight of its citizens in a foreign country. It will not be cheap to bring them back, but it is necessary.
Whatever the financial cost, the human cost matters more.
Revelation by revelation. Hour by hour, day by day, the threat continues.
And Kenya’s stance until the news? Stay calm, put the kettle on, carry on living. It would be comical were it no so tragic.
So far our leaders have managed to show one thing; dismissiveness and contempt. No make it two things. Actually it is a lot of things.
It is nit-picking, of course, but such are the heights when it comes to people’s lives that being pedantic is sometimes the only way to eke out further improvement. We pay tax to get results. With cheques must come balances, and that is not even funny.
As of 16th April, more than 2 million people have been infected in more than 80 countries, according to the John Hopkins University Centre for Systems Science and Engineering.
Perhaps with the characteristic insularity of our Kenyan government, we have to be merciless in action, ruthless indecisiveness and faceless in act – their heads firmly in the sands of Diani’s beaches at a time when so many countries are taking measures to prevent the disease.
For years, leaders from governors to local MPs have received medical care abroad while our own poorly funded healthcare systems grapple under the weight of patients, limping from crisis to crisis. Until now.
With the country closing its borders and a host of European nations banning travel into and out of their countries, it seems, after all, Mahomet must face the mountain.
Perhaps Covid19 is an opportunity for our leaders to reexamine their priorities.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms. For some, specifically the older, and people with underlying health cases, it can cause more severe illness, or ultimately death.
Sure as eggs are eggs, it was then only a matter of time before we confirmed our rising cases. What with the way we are handling our airport like a docking bay? Where are our leaders?
I could commend Mutahi Kagwe, the straight-shooting, poker-faced health minister for his daily updates; an acid reflux of defeat rising in his throat and you could tell he was trying to swallow it don before it gets any further.
But maybe it’s time we dared speak some necessary home truths.
Shock, disappointment, a sense of smoldering justice – when the Star allegedly reported that a number of MPs had the virus.
Whether this is just a case of schadenfreude depends on your established attitude to believe the press or not; and heading into the long weekend, everyone seems to have a stance. The only thing that goes round and round more than our politicians’ lies is the rides we are used to being taken in.
This government’s biggest sin would be to downplay this.
It is tempting to log my disapproval as nothing more than sour grapes – but I ask where our leaders are? Has your MP shown up? Are you confident that your MCA knows how to educate the masses against the plague? Have they cushioned you from the other economic factors of this pandemic?
If that fact doesn’t a) depress you and b) make you feel inconsequential, then I don’t know what does.
None of this is YOUR fault, well at least not yet.
Again, it all depends on your deep-rooted desires. The government could show us one by one how they are fighting the virus and our disaster preparedness and some would still berate it for acting too late – and there are those who will never be won over.
You can even sneer at the smack hypocrisy of some of us hoping the virus spreads in Kenya so that we could sell masks – we’ll get back to that – because while others may see a problem, others, and rightly so, see an opportunity. This feels like a rash cul-de-sac.
With our disaster preparedness clear as mud, will this be the time the government finally pays attention to our public healthcare system?
The emperor is holding up a piece of cloth, trying to cover up the fact that he is wearing no clothes at all. It will be respected, albeit delayed.
Maybe the government is not really prepared. Maybe it is. Maybe it is more than a few cases of coronavirus in Kenya. Maybe it is not.
Forget the politics, as there will always be one. You could say something as simple as ‘happy!’
And someone would take issue with your tone.
Are you prepared?
It sounds daft but you don’t expect the apocalypse on a glorious sunny day. This is not just a panic whim, caused by gilt-edged guilt, but your own security starts with you. Your healthy, your family’s is in your hands. Literally.
While our leaders may be tied to home now more than ever, their voices drowned in fear, their access to medical care is still far better than most of their citizens.
Lifesaving machines like ventilators which are crucial to the management of the Covid19 cases – remain a luxury in an already cash strapped country.
But necessity is the mother of invention. As always we will turn to the population who will come up with some sort of way to create our own ventilators – Kenyatta University students come to mind.
But don’t be surprised when it is launched by a politician, because in a country facing a pandemic where our leadership is tested, don’t be surprised to find out we have none.