Story Of Third-Best KCSE Candidate Taking Part In Doctors' Protests

With this high level of academic success, she decided to pursue dental surgery and enrolled in university in 2017.

Story Of Third-Best KCSE Candidate Taking Part In Doctors' Protests
Doctors during a past strike in Kenya. /QUARTZ

Shirley Ogallo was on Thursday, February 29 among notable participants of the peaceful protests staged by doctors in response to the delayed deployment of medical interns.

In 2016, she sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and emerged as the third-best candidate in Kenya, scoring an A grade of 83 points.

With this high level of academic success, she decided to pursue dental surgery and enrolled in university in 2017.

She completed her tertiary studies in July 2023 and officially graduated in December of the same year.

Shirley Ogallo protesting in Nairobi on February 29, 2024. /SHIRLEY OGALLO

However, to date, she is still yet to be assigned an internship by the Ministry of Health, delaying the commencement of her desired career path.

In frustration with the prolonged delay, she took to the streets in protest alongside other medical professionals to advocate for the rights of their peers as well as herself.

Ogallo on Monday, March 4 shared details of the aftermath of completing her academic studies as well as the frustration she encountered trying to secure a career path for herself in the country.

“Ideally we should have been posted within three months of completion of studies, but it didn't happen. So most of the time, I'd be home helping mom out or I'd be in Nairobi just doing nothing. You sleep, you wake up you eat and that is just the cycle of life.

“The frustration got worse after graduating and we thought we would be posted in February (2024) so we were all excitedly waiting for February and then things just took a dive again. So that's when we started going out for demonstrations. And yeah as it is, we're still demonstrating to be posted,” she said in an interview with NTV.

Internship is a mandatory requirement for doctors and dental practitioners, as stipulated by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council (KMPDC).

Graduates must undergo a supervised internship lasting approximately 13 months before they are deemed eligible to practice independently. This hands-on training is essential for acquiring practical skills that cannot be fully obtained within the confines of a lecture hall.

The Ministry of Health through Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha meanwhile intervened regarding the deployment of interns after the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) announced a planned strike by health workers set to commence in less than seven days.

“My call to the unions is to allow a discussion and conversation to take place. There are many things that we need to discuss and a strike will not resolve. A solution will only be found when we sit at the table and discuss it as stakeholders.

"The county governments, the Ministry of Labour, the National Treasury, the Public Service Commission, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and the Ministry of Education are all stakeholders in the matter,” she stated while addressing the media on Tuesday, March 5 at Afya House in Nairobi.

Nonetheless, she acknowledged the delay and assured that efforts are underway to address the concerns raised by doctors. 

Additionally, she highlighted the ministry's consideration of factors such as funding and the availability of trainers for intern supervision. 

Mary Muthoni, the Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards stated that a meeting was convened with representatives from Health Workers Unions to address pressing healthcare issues and foster collaboration.

KMPDU on Monday, March 4 issued a seven-day notice for a nationwide strike, a move which, should it still go through, is likely to paralyse the health sector.

KMPDU SG Davji Atellah during protests in Nairobi on Thursday, February 29, 2024. /KMPDU