Daily Trust

Africa’s doctors reject mercy killing for terminally ill patients

- By Judd-Leonard Okafor

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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