It’s been a while since I ranted. Maybe I was too busy or there was nothing to rant about. However, the other day I saw my friend and former school mate nurse Loise; shaking hands with, the very much qualified CS for health, and being waved off to the UK by her close friends and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I was furious.

Dr. Fridah Waves off Nurse Loise as she finally finds green pastures

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy for Loise, I mean, as a health worker in Kenya, leaving this country is THE DREAM. Loise Ameomoka. In the eyes of the very well-informed CS and the clueless government he represents, this is the 1st time such is happening. They probably even think that the Nurses they are exporting didn’t want to leave because of the perfect working environment in Kenya. Things on the ground are different.

Every young, forward thinking, good looking, beautifully smiling nurse I have done or tried to do what young doctors do to nurses, was or is actively trying to leave this country. There are countless agencies recruiting and getting jobs for Kenyan nurses in 1st world countries. Sad to see that the ministry of health has become one of those agencies.


It is not wrong for any country to export its human resource. But from the definition of export, you can only export what you have in plenty. You use the surplus to get income to fund areas in which you have scarcity. Cuba, for example, marred by years of communism and dictatorship under the legendary Fidel Castro, is a poor third world country. However, the one thing Fidel did right, was train doctors. They have so many and can thereby afford to export many of them to countries with misplaced priorities like Kenya.

The WHO recommended nurse: patient ratio is 83:10,000. That translates to about 120 patients per nurse. Kenya, the hub of nurses, the epicenter of nurses, is at a ratio of 1 per 1000. And even that 1 is trying to leave and the government of smart leaders is helping them leave.

Good for the nurses. Memes are always going round of nurses being rude and irritable at the work place; especially in public hospitals and some wannabe private hospitals. Let me paint you a picture of the life of an average nurse in this Godforsaken country: foremost, understand that there is a serious shortage of nurses all over. Now the few who are available are underpaid but they can’t complain because somehow, jobs are scarce. Now to be able to make ends meet, they engage in Locums. And Locums are always in plenty because there are few nurses. Weird, right!


And it would have been acceptable if they did locums during their offs. But that is not the case. Most of the time, for as little as Ksh. 1000, nurses will do 36 to 48 hours of work nonstop. No rest, no sleep, no bath, who wouldn’t be irritable?

As already established, the state of public hospitals in this country is deplorable. And most county governments are only making it worse. With the serious shortage of nursing care, hospital administrators are forced to contract more nurses on locums and other local arrangements to try and close the gap. But it still doesn’t cut it. It is not uncommon to have patients missing medication while in the ward or wounds going for days without being dressed because of shortage of nurses. Yet you cannot blame them. One nurse doing the 36th hour, covering a ward of 40 patients, at night is not expected to do much. As if that is not enough, some of the people wearing scrubs and pushing trolleys along hospital corridors are not even qualified nurses: nurse aids, KMTC dropouts and all manner of titles do the work of nurses due to extreme shortage. But our government sees fit to send our very best to the UK.

The situation however only promises to get worse for our people as our very able politicians promise to yet export more and more of this rare commodity to more deserving countries. Any way we are African and hardened. We will just recover on our own. As Kagwe and company export nurses to the countries they will go for treatment when the contract Malaria (at least someone who will understand his thick Kikuyu accent), the likes of Wandeti Vinya of the famous yaliyondwele sipite, with her verified degree are promising to convert all Nurses to doctors within 100 days of being elected.  

Her degree is verified

Nurses are the center of healthcare. Kenyan nurses are very well trained. Their Cardexes are always very detailed. They will surely improve the healthcare of the UK, US, Kuwait and any other more deserving country they find themselves in. For us sons of a black God, we shall continue electing the likes of Rigathi Gachagua who will make Oscar Sudi CS for health and maybe then doctors too shall get an opportunity to be exported.

By Dr. Nyadimu

Nyadimu Festo MD

Medical Doctor. MBChB with IT (Maseno university). Passionate about medicine, writing and leadership. Voice of the Kenyan doctor.

Add comment


Find the latest News on matters of Health in Kenya