By Winnie Kabintie
A jobless Kenyan doctor has written an open letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta, pleading to at least be given a job as an interpreter to the Cuban doctors, who arrived in the country on Wednesday.
Dr Doreen Siringi, who for now prefers not to use the title since its irrelevant as she is not in practice, says there will be a communication barrier between patients and the Cuban doctors.
“I am writing to apply for the post of interpreter to any of the one hundred Cuban specialists who are set to join our county hospitals any day from May 28th 2018. The majority of patients who will be seen by the Cuban specialists speak Kiswahili and/or mother tongue and a little or no English hence the need for interpreters,” Siringi Said.
She further expresses, in her satirical letter, fears that she could possibly be ruled out of the interpreters job on grounds of being “overqualified” for the position.
“I hope I do not end up as over qualified for this job of an interpreter by virtue of having gone to medical school. It has been six months since I finished my internship, for the same six weeks, I have been walking these streets. I have delivered applications in counties far and near. I am yet to receive even a rejection letter. At least then you would know your application was seen but you didn’t qualify,” she said.
Local medics have condemned the government’s decision to bring in 100 Cuban doctors yet a good number of Kenyan doctors are still jobless.
According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), there are 1,683 unemployed doctors, 171 of whom are specialists who could have been employed by the counties.
The Cuban doctors are set to be placed in the job category S, which is the highest paid rank for civil servants. The medics will take home a salary of up to Sh882,180 per month.
KMPDU secretary-general Ouma Oluga has maintained that the pay for the Cuban doctors is also discriminatory compared to what local specialists earn.
“Our specialists according to the CBA should be in Job Group S and T but they are in M, N or P. quite discriminative,” Oluga said.
BELOW IS DOREEN SARINGI’S FULL LETTER
“An Application Letter to H.E. Muigai, and all concerned honchos in his government, by Kenyan doctor, Doreen Saringi. Surely, it isn’t too much to ask;
Dear Mr President, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health and all the Honorable Governors. With all protocol observed, I am writing to apply for the post of interpreter to any of the one hundred Cuban specialists who are set to join our county hospitals any day from May 28th 2018. The majority of patients who will be seen by the Cuban specialists speak Kiswahili and/or mother tongue and a little or no English hence the need for interpreters. I have been interacting with Kenyan patients since my clinical years in medical school and during the last one year over my internship. That makes a whole five years of experience! I know when a middle aged man says “mimi sitaki wanawake yote”, he doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like seeing women. He means he has erectile dysfunction. I know when an elderly woman says “leo nimejikuna Nairobi usiku mzima,” she doesn’t mean she travelled all the way to Nairobi just so she can scratch herself. It means that she has a persistent itch in “her private parts”. I have had enough experience to know the various terms used to mean sex; “kukutana na mzee, kukuwa na mama watoto, wakati tunafanya mambo yetu” among many other terms.
Apart from being an interpreter, I will render additional services to whoever I will be assigned such as being their tour guide within the hospital premises and teaching them how we improvise using readily available materials. Within a week or two, I will have taught them how to make a hard cervical collar using just a carton box. I will be in theatre with them, open the water taps for them when they are scrubbing in, help them into their theatre gowns and gloves. I will be at standby with a gauze dipped in normal saline, ready to wipe sweat from their foreheads even before they ask or even any blood that may accidentally splash on their faces. I also promise to scratch their backs should they feel itchy midway into a procedure. I will do all these services at no extra cost. All I ask is to be paid an eight of whatever they are going to be paid per month. I do not need any furnished home, or security or paid bills. I will take care of all that using my salary. I will only take a leave when they take their annual leaves. During my service as an interpreter, I will not even get pregnant because that might mean a maternity leave and I wouldn’t let “my Cuban” to be frustrated in the name of pregnancy.
I hope I do not end up as over qualified for this job of an interpreter by virtue of having gone to medical school. It has been six months since I finished my internship, for the same six weeks, I have been walking these streets. First it was to get an annual retention, a registration certificate, then a certificate of compliance from HELB, a clearance from EACC, another clearance from CRB and a certificate of good conduct from DCI. I have written so many application letters I could s well do it for a living. I have delivered applications in counties far and near. I am yet to receive even a rejection letter. At least then you would know your application was seen but you didn’t qualify.
While being an interpreter never crossed my mind as I grew up, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I have bills to pay, HELB loans to clear, funerals and weddings to contribute to. I will do it if the government wouldn’t employ me to be the doctor that I always thought I would grow up to be. I am aware of the few choices that I have as a Kenyan doctor in this generation. I will not regret the hard work that has brought me this far. I will continue dipping my feet in a basin of cold water and study hard, do USMLEs, PLABS and I may just get lucky and practice medicine in some country in the west.
Meanwhile, I am going to try and forget that I am wasting away, waiting to be called for a job. No need to drive yourself deeper into depression. Lacking a job is hard. Seeing Cubans taking up the very jobs that you cant get in your own country is painful. It is even more painful when you remember that they didn’t even need to apply for these jobs. Nobody asked them to pay two thousand five hundred shillings for a clearance certificate from CRB. And they are not going to sit before a panel and try convince them to employ any one of them.
Unemployed no use of adding the title Dr before my name,