Doc­tors should value peo­ple’s lives

The Manica Post - - Unsung Hero/opinion - Sibusiso Nd­lamini

IN AS much as doc­tors’ de­mands are valid, it is also es­sen­tial for them to con­sider the pre­cious lives of the peo­ple of Zim­babwe who need their spe­cial at­ten­tion across the na­tion.

Among other chal­lenges, it has been re­ported that the doc­tors are de­mand­ing an up­ward re­view of on-call al­lowance and $16 ru­ral al­lowance per month for all Gov­ern­ment doc­tors in ru­ral ar­eas.

The doc­tors are also de­mand­ing Gov­ern­ment to sub­sidise pur­chase of ve­hi­cles as well as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ve­hi­cle duty free frame­work that they pre­vi­ously agreed with the Health Ser­vice Board.

Since it is a right for ev­ery in­di­vid­ual to ac­cess health ser­vices, doc­tors should try to have their con­cerns re­solved while they are at work rather than com­pletely putting down their tools.

The Min­istry of Health and Child Care should ini­ti­ate dia­logue with doc­tors, which should pro­vide a last­ing so­lu­tion to th­ese chal­lenges to avoid a peren­nial oc­cur­rence of th­ese strikes.

The on-go­ing strike by doc­tors has a neg­a­tively im­pacted on the qual­ity of health­care ser­vices and is caus­ing count­less suf­fer­ing to des­per­ate pa­tients in Gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals. Many hor­ror sto­ries are be­ing told of pa­tients who are dy­ing un­nec­es­sar­ily.

In ad­di­tion, strikes desta­bilises the op­er­a­tions of the health sec­tor and disas­ter pre­pared­ness in case of a dis­ease out­break more-so cur­rently with a cholera alert hang­ing around the coun­try.

Presently, the coun­try is fac­ing fi­nan­cial con­straints, a sit­u­a­tion which the new dis­pen­sa­tion is work­ing tire­lessly to re­solve.

In that re­gard, doc­tors’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives should peace­fully en­gage Gov­ern­ment on the way for­ward whilst pa­tients are re­ceiv­ing their treat­ment at hos­pi­tals.

Since pa­tients’ lives are in the hands of doc­tors, it is of para­mount im­por­tance that doc­tor’s work in in­ter­est of same.

Today’s doc­tors should em­u­late the works of the late Dr Ti­mothy Stamps and Florence Nightin­gale. Th­ese two were so ded­i­cated to their work even un­der strin­gent con­di­tions.

Nightin­gale was a pi­o­neer of modern nurs­ing. Nightin­gale gave nurs­ing a highly favourable rep­u­ta­tion and be­came prom­i­nent while serving as a man­ager of nurses dur­ing the Crimean war, where she or­gan­ised and tended to wounded sol­diers.

The same was also no­ticed dur­ing Dr Stamps time.

Dr Stamps be­lieved in the wel­fare of the poor and that if the cy­cle of poverty and ill health was to be bro­ken, doc­tors must sup­port ac­cess to health care as a uni­ver­sal hu­man right.

It should be known that doc­tors’ strikes in­crease the mor­tal­ity rate in pub­lic hos­pi­tals.

Worse off, the loss of lives of bread-win­ners due to doc­tors’ strike causes poverty and puts pres­sure on fam­i­lies, society and the econ­omy.

How­ever, there is need for the re­spon­si­ble au­thor­i­ties to con­sider some of the de­mands men­tioned by th­ese doc­tors. For in­stance, there is need for Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide ad­e­quate stocks of drugs at all Gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals.

One of the achieve­ments that Pres­i­dent Mnangagwa’s ad­min­is­tra­tion man­aged to do in the first 100 days in of­fice is to pro­vide free ma­ter­nal health care, free treat­ment of chil­dren be­low five years and adults above 65 years.

None­the­less, this pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment needs to be sup­ported by suf­fi­cient re­sources for ex­am­ple the much needed med­i­ca­tion.

In ad­di­tion, the Gov­ern­ment should be en­cour­aged to con­sider other non mon­e­tary in­cen­tives that aid in up­lift­ing the liv­ing stan­dards of th­ese doc­tors.

For in­stance, pro­vid­ing doc­tors with res­i­den­tial stands as well as scrap­ping duty on ve­hi­cles pur­chased out­side the coun­try.

With that hav­ing been said, the Gov­ern­ment and the Health Ser­vices Board should reach a con­sen­sus be­fore any more lives are lost.

My ap­peal is that, doc­tors should re­mem­ber their Hip­po­cratic Oath which val­ues pa­tients’ lives above all else.

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