Editor's Comment

Probe Kalomo male nurse

WE ARE perturbed by a video making rounds on social media in which a woman alleges that a male nurse at Mawaya Clinic in Kalomo district refused to attend to her because she could not speak Tonga.
According to the video, an unidentified woman is heard confronting a male nurse who was trying to hide his face from the phone camera on why he insisted that she should speak Tonga before her sick child could be attended to.
In an altercation, the woman is also heard telling the male nurse to desist from grabbing her phone, which she was using to record the incident.
It is commendable that the Ministry of Health has acted swiftly to institute an investigation into the matter to establish the truth.
We do not expect any medical personnel to use tribe or ethnicity as a basis on which patients should be treated. Such medical personnel do not deserve to be anywhere near a health facility or any patient because they are a danger to society.
While acknowledging that we do hold the authority of the courts of law to pass any judgement, we believe there is need to get to the bottom of this matter.
According to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the World Health Organisation, access to healthcare is one of the fundamental rights of every human being regardless of race, religion, and political belief, economic or social condition.
This is why the Patriotic Front Government has been working to bring health care service closer to the people.
Government has, for instance, embarked on the construction of 650 health posts across the country to lessen the distance that people travel to access healthcare, especially in rural areas. Government has also been equipping heath facilities with modern tools and staffing them with health personnel to deliver quality service to the communities.
In some areas, Government is also upgrading clinics to mini hospitals to increase capacity.
Just recently, the Ministry of Health announced that it has procured drugs to cover the country for the whole year.
All these efforts are aimed at ensuring that every Zambian has access to quality health care service as close to their door-steps as possible.
It is not only unfortunate but unbelievable that in this age and era, someone should be denied access to healthcare on tribal grounds.
It is also ludicrous and unimaginable that 54 years after independence, some individuals could exhibit such primitive and discriminatory tendencies.
What is even more disturbing is that the life of an innocent child who needed medical attention could have been endangered.
Such behaviour cannot be tolerated because it does not only abrogate the heath professional ethics but dents the reputation of the profession.
The demand by the male nurse is not only discriminatory but unjustifiable because in the video, the woman was heard speaking English, which is the official language of communication.
And as a professional who has gone through training, we expect the male nurse to be conversant with the official language unless under unfortunate and questionable circumstances.
The demand cannot even be used as a joke, because a life was at stake.
In a country where there are so many intermarriages, it is unthinkable that such behaviour which borders on tribalism can be entertained by some individuals. This is because through intermarriages, people are connected to more than one tribe, which makes it difficult for them to identify with one tribe.
One may not be able to speak Bemba, Chewa, Lozi or Tonga but may have relatives or even spouses from those tribes.
It is saddening that such cruel behaviour could be associated with a nurse who, by nature of the job, is supposed to exhibit virtues of compassion, care and tolerance, among others.
This is because nursing involves facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through diagnosis and treatment as well as giving hope and comfort to the dying.
This is why nurses are considered the heart of healthcare and caring is their essence.
It is, however, saddening that time and again we hear lamentations by the public on the bad work ethics of medical personnel.
The relevant medical professional bodies should rise up to protect the name of the profession by ridding it of bad eggs.
The Ministry of Health should also work with professional bodies to introduce toll-free lines which members of the public could use to report unprofessional conduct.
Anyone found wanting after thorough investigations should certainly be shown the door.
It is, therefore, hoped that the probe by the Ministry of Health will get to the bottom of the matter regarding the circulating video and justice should be delivered.

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