Editor's Comment

Medics deserve respect

MEDICAL personnel in Zambia, like those in other parts of the world, play a critical role in restoring the health of people and saving their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only re-emphasised the importance of frontline workers.
We know that the medical personnel have been working day and night to help contain the pandemic. They have put their lives in harm’s way in a bid to save lives. Sadly, some medical personnel have been lost in the process.
Right now, the medical personnel are the most stressed front-liners as they put up a spirited fight against COVID. Indeed some have to battle with emotional and mental trauma because of what they have to deal with daily.
They have seen colleagues contract the virus in the course of duty and die but they must soldier on for the sake of many Zambians who desperately need their services.
At such a point, the least anyone can do for these gallant and faithful sons and daughters of the land is appreciate and respect them.
We are, however, deeply saddened and appalled by the rowdy behaviour of a patient who was captured uttering disparaging remarks at health personnel at the University Teaching Hospital. In the video, the man was totally out of control and pacing up and about in a fit of rage. He threaten to have the medical personnel who were on duty dismissed for allegedly delaying to attend to him.
“Why are you chasing us? You can even lose your job,” the man says as other patients, security officers and medical personnel watch him rant.
An attempt by one of the doctors to calm him fell on deaf ears as the man continued to justify his anger.
“You cannot cool me down. I am not happy, I am patient,[nomba mulefwaya ndelanda panono [you want me to be speaking in a low tone] I am shocked, I was in an accident.
“Doctor, can you respond to this X-ray. Otherwise I will call someone,” the man says as medical personnel wonder how they would attend to an aggressive patient whom they urged to calm down.
In anger, the man grabs the X-ray sheet and storms out of the facility while uttering disparaging remarks.
Surely, such levels of misconduct should not be tolerated.
What gives this man the audacity to intimidate professionals in such a manner? From his utterances and threats of dismissals, he seems like someone who could actually carry out the threats. These are people that tarnish the image of workers/personnel in these public institutions.
How are medical personnel supposed to execute their jobs if every Jim and Jack who feels connected can unleash threats on them. This is an affront to professionalism. It has potential to affect the commitment of professionals to duty if left unchecked.
In the video, the man claims to be behaving in an unruly manner because of shock from an accident he was allegedly involved in. That does not make sense or justify such rowdy behaviour.
It is not expected that a genuinely physically sick person would have that amount of energy to terrorise people. We wonder if the man even deserved to be attended to considering the long queues that characterise these health facilities.
The medical personnel were better off concentrating on more serious cases than people who think their connections are a passport to harass people and express service.
That man must be traced and brought to account. It does not matter whether his concerns were genuine or not. There are proper channels of addressing grievances if he felt that he had been mistreated by the health personnel.
Causing a fracas is unacceptable in such a sensitive place like a hospital, where some people are in a delicate situation negotiating between life and death.
While we acknowledge that there are some bad eggs in the health profession, we know that the vast majority are good professionals who continue to serve the country with diligence. These deserve respect.



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