Daily Trust

Africa’s doc­tors reject mercy killing for ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients

- By Judd-Leonard Okafor Health · Nigeria News · Medicine · Society · Africa · Belarus · Kenya · Nigeria · Zambia · Botswana · Nigerian Medical Association

A re­gional meet­ing of the World Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (WMA) has ruled out eu­thana­sia and physi­cian-as­sisted sui­cide as op­tions for ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients in Africa.

The Nige­rian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (NMA), which hosted a re­gional meet­ing of WMA, com­pris­ing five na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions from Africa, re­solved that mercy killing of any sort as a prac­tice in medicine was “in con­flict with the physi­cian’s oath” which pro­hibits physi­cians from us­ing med­i­cal knowl­edge to vi­o­late hu­man rights and lib­er­ties even un­der threat.

In a com­mu­niqué de­liv­ered by NMA pres­i­dent, Dr Mike Ogir­ima, the as­so­ci­a­tions said, physi­cian-as­sisted sui­cide and eu­thana­sia “con­tra­dict African cul­tural be­liefs and val­ues.”

The res­o­lu­tion came af­ter med­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions ex­plored eu­thana­sia, physi­cian-as­sisted sui­cide and pal­lia­tive care as op­tions in end-of-life is­sues in health care.

Most African coun­tries have no poli­cies on end-of-life care, apart from Kenya, Nige­ria, Zam­bia and Botswana, who have ini­tia­tives in pal­lia­tive care.

The as­so­ci­a­tions opted for strength­en­ing pal­lia­tive care in­stead, call­ing for na­tional poli­cies, in­creased fund­ing and cre­ation of na­tional and re­gional pal­lia­tive care cen­tres.

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