If I sound like a broken record, ah so, but I have to, again, make mention of the state of disrepair of our nation’s premier public health care institution. This time, however, Jamaica House doesn’t have to duck: no stones are being hurled your way…this time.
I speak of the apathy of the nation’s medical practitioners; and this is not limited to doctors, all of you shall squeal today. I had the “privilege” of engaging a few medical students recently and naturally, the conversation switched to matters of public health. Shocked were they to realise that:
1. The UWI is slated to produce a record 300 doctors per year (if all of them pass)
2. Only approximately 20% of these doctors are “sponsored” (meaning have their fees subsidised by the Government). To that end, 80 per cent of our future doctors will have paid upwards of JMD$ 5,000,000 for their education.
3. The has been no provision (to my knowledge) for additional posts for junior doctors. Correct me if I am wrong Dr. Ferguson.
4. There have been no plans to upgrade any existing hospitals, just to realise Sistah P’s dream of a paediatric hospital in western Jamaica (where exactly she’s to obtain paediatricians, paediatric surgeons and paediatric subspecialists in the immediate future, only she knows).
5. Private practice is saturated
6. The populace is tired of lacklustre and downright deplorable care being meted to them. Doctors and nurses, fear being sued and start beg fren.
In the middle of our discussion as the students became teary eyed and downtrodden at what seemed to be a bleak future, I asked simply “Why would I say all of this?”
To my surprise and chagrin, the reply was “I dunno, so I can cry?”. Well, truth be told, the devil in me really wanted to see a tear, but I painted this dismal picture to highlight the need for ADVOCACY: that need to speak for the rights of self and those we serve. The proverbial flinging up of the frocktail.
In the face of a representational body that is apathetic, students who have no idea of what is in store and a high attrition rate of specialised professionals, why is anyone surprised at the fate of the KPH? If we as medical professionals and JAMAICANS fail to speak up and out for better conditions of public service, who will? If we don’t hold our leaders accountable, why complain when they prance about like monkeys in heat?
Frankly, we have nobody to blame but ourselves, nuh true?