By Alex Kimutai
Madaraka Day this year was inevitably going to be unique due to Covid 19 pandemic that is ravaging the country and indeed it came to pass as the president and a handful of leaders marked the celebrations in statehouse in stark contrast to similar celebration last year and every other year celebrated in the which was marked by celebrations in public arena thronged by thousands of Kenyans.
As it is tradition in these events, Kenyans who have excelled and selflessly defended, represented in ways that embolden and fire up the country’s spirits especially at a time the country is ruing from effects if the global pandemic are recognized and feted as a motivation of work done well. These awards are Uzalendo awards.
Due to their selfless acts of being on frontline to defeat the pandemic, doctors and other healthcare workers have dominated the list and that is special way the state has appreciated them for their courage and dedication in execution of their work for the greater good of the country even if it puts their lives on the line to save thousands others.
Journalists and Kenyans who stepped up to be counted in the heels of COVID 19 were honored. A 9 year old boy, Stephen Wamukota who invented a unique hand washing way was also celebrated among many honorees.
Healthcare workers appreciation is a step on the right direction as they are the ones bearing the brunt of this pandemic. A handful of them may have received the awards but thousand others deserve appreciation as well and I will highlight below;
First is better working conditions in the health facilities by renovating, bulding and improving the standards of the facilities doctors and healthcare workers discharge their duties. The environment around healthcare facilities should be humane and standard on the capacity and quality to minimize the overcrowding and improve the quality of the care patients and community receive.
Second is better remuneration and extinguish perennial doctors or nurses strikes that jeopardizes efforts to serve the communities. The government should be able to work out a way on how each and every health care worker is appreciated by much deserved well remuneration. They should work out a plan with the unions on how they can have address the same. It will be paradoxical when people who are working tirelessly to save others are underpaid and overworked which will derail their spirits and demoralize them.
Third is adequate staffing to avoid overworking existing workforce. Honestly we have competent healthcare workers in our society each year who graduates from various institutions and should be immediately tapped to channel their strength in serving the communities. Under staffing in most situation hampers service delivery which in turn expose many people who are ailing but cannot get medical access.
Therefore the state having honored Kenyans who have been on frontline throughput these period dominated by healthcare workers should go ahead and address the above mentioned three key areas and much more and indeed every healthcare worker will feel appreciated.