Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

15 April 2013

Tanzania: Medical Doctors Must Respect Ethics

editorial

A RESEARCH made by the 'Sunday News' recently established that some medical doctors in the country are not sensitive to the welfare of their patients and do not respect professional ethics.

This scenario has thrown them into disrepute. Some medical centres are reportedly notorious for mistreating patients, especially the terminally ill.

This is a stink in the profession that smells to High Heaven, just to put it mildly. In these centres the desperately ill are, invariably, told to pay dearly or perish. The most critical problem is encountered in so-called private health clinics.

It is, however, on record that some accusing fingers have been pointed at state dispensaries, health centres and referral hospitals that harbour "very cold medical hearts." Unfortunately, it is difficult for the uninitiated to see the difference between a competent, genuine medical doctor and a quack who dupes patients and their minders into paying for wrong or unnecessary medicines or other medical paraphernalia.

Medical workers are supposed to be custodians of the human race -- not the pathological destroyers of it. Patients need heartfelt compassion from medical workers. Some patients die because they fail to afford the inflated prices of medicines.

Others perish because they are offered wrong medication. Some of those who survive end up in abject poverty and may not live for long. The stark fact that not many of us can tell the difference between a genuine medical doctor and a quack is a real canker.

A medical doctor is a professional who carries a university degree in medicine. It is unthinkable that someone else should grab this title. Even very minor medical hands such as trainee nurses, hospital cooks and messengers are treated with veneration by desperate patients who address them as 'doctor.'

Some of these workers capitalise on such mischance to extort money from ignorant patients. Even Standard Seven leavers with a few months of First Aid training are addressed as 'doctor' in private health clinics. Some of the First Aid hands we see have no medical skills apart from dressing wounds or administering jabs quite precariously. We are concerned that the medical profession has already gone to the dogs.

And this is indeed, quite unfortunate. Greedy doctors and pretenders can be more dangerous to health than diseases such as malaria, typhoid and AIDS combined. It is time the rot was stemmed. These dangerous quacks should be flushed out.

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