Talking about being famous/infamous by association, both Dr. Ulimboka Stephen and Dr. Namala Mkopi were my schoolmates. I highly admired them. The former stunned our class in Form Three when he came first in the term exams after dislodging a legendary student who had monopolized that position. As for the latter it was his mastery of fine art, a good sense of humor and a great personality that attracted a number of friends who fondly nicknamed him Namko. I was thus excited many years later when I read his interview in The Citizen newspaper now accessible at http://www.wavuti.com/4/post/2010/7/my-love-for-children-has-paid-off-dr-namala-mkopi.html#axzz1oYbkcRdY. At last, I said, with his touching humane qualities he has found a medical specialization that would make life easier for sick children who tend to have a close, friendly bond with their tender-hearted doctors.
Today I am wondering what has happened when I see Dr. Mkopi at the forefront of the (still ongoing) 'Doctor's Strikes'. But, then, I remember that prior to these lines of his; 'Yes. It gives me great joy to be of service to my country' , in that inspirational interview there were these other lines: "Of course, like lack of diagnostic facilities. This is a challenge in most of our hospitals. Medical laboratories need to be well equipped for patients to receive timely prognosis and cure. We also do not have many specialists who have concentrated on any given medical field yet this is the way to improved and efficient medical care. Being a national hospital, the number of patients visiting Muhimbili can also be overwhelming."
Thus I find it very hard to take sides on this matter as I always find it so difficult when something is a matter of life and death. But, again, what is the use of pretending you are saving lives when deep inside you really know that your daily working conditions actually makes you see people who could be easily saved die on a daily basis? As I check out again the glaring pictures in the New York Times link below on maternal mortality in Tanzania by 2009 I can't help but sympathize if not empathize with both the doctors and their patients.