The Zambia Medical Association president Aaron Mujajati has strongly condemned doctors for commenting on President Lungu’s health publicly.
“Recently, some members of the medical fraternity have commented on the President’s health publicly. We wish to remind our members that they are doctors first before they are politicians. All medical doctors know for a fact that we are not permitted to comment publicly about a patient that is not under one’s care and even if that were the case, written consent from the patient was required”, Dr. Mujajati said. Dr. Mujajati said ethically, only doctors treating a patient, in this case President Lungu’s doctors, have the right to publicly comment on his illness because they are the only people that have examined the patient have been given written consent to disclose the findings.
This is according to a statement released to the media by the Zambia Medical Association .
Dr.Mujajati said even his association does not have the right to make public comments on President Lungu’s medical condition hence the restriction of ZMA ‘s comments to those of professional guidance in respect of public communications between the medical team and the public. “We can not afford to sacrifice the profession on the alter of political expedience,”he said.
The Zambia Medical Association, ZMA, said President Edgar Lungu was in good spirits when the association visited him in a South African hospital on Saturday. ZMA president Aaron Mujajati said he had led a three-?man team which consisted of Dr. Robert Zulu, a Consultant Surgeon and Dr. Jonathan Sitali, the ZMA Chairperson for the Public Health Committee in response to a public invitation made by President Lungu when he stated that the Zambia Medical Association was free to visit him.
“As a body that represents medical practitioners in Zambia, we visited the Head of State to provide professional solidarity to his medical team and extend our love and goodwill to both the Zambian leader and his family”, Dr. Mujajati said.
The ZMA chief stated that what President Lungu needs from the rest of the country is moral support while his doctors provide expert care. In this regard, Dr. Mujajati has strongly condemned members of his association who are in politics for seeking political capital out of a development that can happen to anyone.
“That’s why in this statement, we have only described the mood in which we found the President and not his medical condition because that is the preserve of his medical team”, Dr. Mujajati said and added, “ we all should allow them to communicate to the rest of us as and when they deem fit. While we accept that we may all be entitled to our own opinion but let us also be reminded that we are not entitled to our own facts”.
During the term of the late Mr. Sata, ZMA called for transparency on the part of State House in respect of the President’s health while in the same breath called for adherence to medical ethics that require the non-?politicization of the President’s illness.
Dr. Mujajati said his association is reiterating a similar call and appeal to both politicians and members of the public bearing in mind that everyone would like to be accorded medical ethics, which require that a patient is treated in a humane fashion and with dignity.
While in South Africa, the Zambia Medical Association team held a meeting with members of the South African Surgeon General, an office that looks after the health of the President, constitutional office holders and foreign Heads of State that seek medical treatment in that country.
“We were pleasantly surprised that President Lungu had arranged such a meeting, an indication that he is taking seriously our call for the institutionalization of the healthcare of Zambian leaders – not only for himself but also for those that will come after him”, Dr. Mujajati said.
In the next few weeks, the Zambia Medical Association will be calling on the Minister of Justice to submit the organization’s proposed structure for the office of the Physician General so that the Ministry of Justice may come up with a bill for presentation before Cabinet and finally parliament for enactment. Dr. Mujajati hopes Members of Parliament will support the bill when it comes up for debate in the legislative chamber.