I write in reply to “Doctors welcome candidates’ enthusiasm to undergo tests” (The Post 05.01.15) on Zambian Medical Association (ZMA) President Dr Aaron Mujajati’s “elation” “by the enthusiasm shown by presidential candidates….”
Dr Mujajati said “the starting point” was “to engage the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and other stakeholders to create a standard guide….”
I thought “the starting point” was the death of President Levy Mwanawasa (2008) in the second year of his second term and President Michael Sata (2014) in third year of his first term, in a period of six years.In addition to the 2014 Presidential Elections 11 presidential candidates’ medical tests interest, ZMA had a publicly-advertised forum on the same, open to LAZ and other stakeholders.
In view of above, I am surprised at Dr Mujajati’s misplacement of “the starting point” and his denial or lack of or delegation of leadership by subordinating ZMA, the 11 presidential candidates and the public to the guidance and leadership of LAZ and other anonymous stakeholders.
As far as is known, health matters, of medical tests, are the domain of ZMA who should guide and lead LAZ and other stakeholders and not vice versa.
The medical tests should have political but not legal implications on validated nominations filed with the Chief Justice.
On the other hand, Dr Mujajati’s reference to LAZ should instead have benefited us with a reference to a country practicing our intention or bemoan the constitutional encumbrances in Articles 36 (2)’s academic exercise or impossibility of establishing a Medical Board which would subordinate medical professionals to lawyers (as Dr Mujajati has conceded) or parliamentary debate and vote on purely medical matters.
Further, Article 39 (4) has “a certificate of the Chief Justice” which “such certificate is ratified by the National Assembly” which is not a medical professional body and which certificate is not a medical certificate as the Chief Justice is not a medical professional.
ZMA among other professionals have desired a constitutional review to elevate their medical profession, even the creation of the Office of Surgeon General (equivalent of, not subordinate to, Attorney General or Auditor General).
Importantly, the doctor-client (patients) relationship as regards the 11 presidential candidates, as in the cases of HIV/AIDS, circumcision (MPs promotions), cancer (Thandiwe Banda) and other tests have demonstrated, the client’s final say over ZMA and LAZ and other stakeholders.
If ZMA and Dr Mujajati should understand something of the clients’ or patients’ rights, it is the clients’ rights to do what they choose with medical test results, as pointed out. I am also aware doctors’ rights to test results as in case of contagious diseases or outbreaks. For example, doctors quarantine or detain clients without consent or guidance of LAZ or Zambia Police or other stakeholders. I am also aware that clients can advertise their results in the media without breaching anything.
In short, the 11 presidential candidates’ enthusiasm thereby consent should have been “the starting point” and final say over ZMA, LAZ and other stakeholders. In other words, Dr Mujajati’s professional position was to follow the lead of clients as well as concede powerlessness on a publicly resolved matter.
Otherwise, I was convinced ZMA and Dr Mujajati’s work had been made easy by the clients and all ZMA (not LAZ and other stakeholders) needed to do was guide on the selection of facilities and practitioners in view of the 15 days countdown to the polling day, Tuesday, 20th January, 2015. (I am also aware medical tests in question are not technical operations and not necessarily a doctor’s job.)
I also thought medical professionals say health is an asset more important than material assets that presidential candidates legally declare to the Chief Justice. And more than the first medical test before of the job, ZMA should have guided on follow up annual reviews.
Well, ZMA publicly wants LAZ and other stakeholders, like me, to guide it on its specialty.
Therefore, I found Dr Mujajati flat, self contradictory (“If this opportunity is not managed properly….” “challenge or rather enthusiasm” “valid concern”) and misleading (“sign informed consent”) on this matter as regards professionalism, privacy, secrecy, public or common interest or good versus personal interest.
If I have misread and misunderstood Dr Mujajati, I will appreciate his clarification. As opposed to general health we could debate fitness as the presidency is about performance under stress and not just general health.
By Kasebamashila Kaseba