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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Why the Resident Doctors’ “Go Slow” is immoral, Inhumane, and even a Crime against Humanity

Columns Why the Resident Doctors' "Go Slow" is immoral, Inhumane, and even a...

By Kapya Kaoma

The Resident Doctors’ “go slow” at the time the nation is witnessing a rise in new cases of the COVID 19 is irresponsible, immoral, and inhumane. It is like a fire fighter asking for a pay raise when someone’s property is on fire or a police officer asking to have his salary increased when robbers are holding someone’s family hostage. Such actions could be considered criminal. It is unethical and even a crime against humanity for resident doctors to be on “go slow” when the dark clouds of death hang fearfully across the nation. Against all politics, I pray that someone will be held accountable for the deaths which will occur because of this immoral “go slow.”

As bad as the PF government is, medical doctors are essential workers for a reason–they deal with human life. The Hippocratic Oath, “Do No Harm” and the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva both put emphasis on respect and service of humanity or what we Africans call ubuntu–the realization that “I am because we are.” As medical professionals, doctors acknowledge the autonomy, dignity and sanctity of human life and pledge to respect and protect it with utmost consideration. Their “go slow” in the midst of the pandemic is a betrayal of their Oath and Pledge. Sadly this unethical go slow is doing much damage to the very people who have been on the receiving end of the PF regime. Just as government after government have neglected the poor people for decades, doctors are joyfully watching them die as COVID-19 knocks on their wards which are already “death chambers” due to the low quality healthcare provided in those institutions. Doctors, however, are blaming the PF government for their actions. In normal times, this argument could be made. But we are faced with life-ending pandemic.

Besides, is the “go slow” in the heart of the pandemic serving the greater good for humanity which they pledge to serve? Politically, the PF government is wrong not to honor its commitment to the doctors. But resident doctors are not the only ones letdown; teachers, nurses, civil servants, name them–the list is endless. Opposition politicians are quick to jump on this PF failure in support of doctors, but there is no justification for this immoral action. COVID-19 and other illnesses are nonpartisan and the patients in government hospitals are the poor, the rich go to private hospitals and clinics, some manned by the same resident doctors, while on government payroll. Yet there is another aspect to being a medical doctor–ubuntu, seeing yourself in the suffering of the other person. This is a human sacrifice that money cannot buy; it is something that connects you to me and to another person.

We are a democracy and we have the right to demonstrate and go on Strike. But the resident doctors’ actions cannot be defended in the name of democratic rights. The declaration of the COVID-19 PANDEMIC as the global health emergency resulted in the suspension of certain claims, rights and privileges. I understand medical doctors are not necessarily ethicists to understand the moral implications of such declarations. While intellectual property rights are protected by international law, the emergency meant that other companies were allowed to produce the Vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer. Similarly these drugs were provided at lower costs rather than on market value. African nations have access to these drugs as a result. Likewise, nurses and doctors were entitled to a number of day off per week, but during the pandemic those privileges were taken away. In short, bargaining rights are restricted during a state of emergency.

Resident doctors are mistaken to think that they can use the pandemic to bargain on the lives of innocent people. Medical professionalism means doing everything to save a life. Across the globe, medical doctors camped in wards, came from retirement, and worked without a break to fight COVID-19. Nurses did the same. Some worked without pay; they took the opportunity as a call to duty. It is this human aspect our resident doctors are missing–money cannot buy you a smile; saving a life would. I am not saying that money is not important; it is. But this is the wrong time to talk about money. You have fought this virus and saved so many lives. But why do you want to give up now? You may receive your money, but the morgues would be filled with victims of COVID-19 at your watch and in your name. Ubuntu demands that you see the pain of your patients and treat them as you would love to be treated. As for politicians, please stop playing with human life!

“Do No Harm”

28 COMMENTS

  1. No one owes us free labour. They should just pay. Let me not mix words here. We are watching how PF handles this. And it’s election time. We won’t blame the doctors for the deaths, we know better.

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  2. What rubbish. While corrupt PF dishes out “empowerment” to its criminal cadres, doctors are already working throughout the pandemic without pay for four months. And then the lying PF states the issue has been fixed while it’s not. August 12 will show Zambians are on the side of the doctors and PUNISH the incompetent and lying PF!

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  3. Iwe chimbwi you expect doctors to attend to patients on empty tammies! Its Stip1d Lungu to blame. He has diverted donated money meant for doctors to give Kaiser and his thugs.

    Truth be told. Covid 19 is mainly killing the rich who think eating veggies is poverty. The poor peoples diet is full veggies thats why many are surving covid-19

    Doctor have been very patient with PF. They have been talking to PF for the past 8months to no avail.

    Patients will die in hospitals like they always do whether doctors are there or not because of lack of medicine or use of expired medicines bought by PF. So your analysis is totally devoid of substance.

    Fire them and the UK and South Africa will get them. Then when Ka chakolwa Lungu falls sick and gets flown to SA or UK it will be the same…

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  4. Ba kapya kaoma thanks for this position taken and you see this is where upnd is a let down. It should show leadership by requesting the strikers to go back to work and assure them it make this a priority when it form government and believe me people will show appreciation. Now the the president of the Union is behaving and influenced by upnd is unfortunate. Pf can be defeated but nit at the expense of peoples’ lives. Are we looking for sacrifice as masons.

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  5. It is not funny when we can all see who is getting priority when it comes to sharing national resources, They boast of having mansions, blocks of flats and have money to throw in the streets. The rest of us must have ‘morals’ and work for FREE??!?

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  6. Kapya Kaoma you need the doctors to check on you because you are mentally unstable. I have no comments to dignify your article serve to say Chainama is missing a patient

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  7. Why do you Kapya blame doctors who are victims is this circumstance instead of the PF govt? Deal with the cause of the problem in how PF govt has been managing this problem & not the symptoms as in doctors reaction to govt nonchalant approach to their long standing grievances.

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  8. Interesting piece to read, but think about the livelihood of the men in the forefront risking their live administering help to the need while being denied a decent life. Professionals have been neglected in the country because the leaders are only concerned about being in power and insuring that they stay in power for as long as they can be. Today is even more valuable to be a political cadre under the PF umbrella than being a professional or a technocrat. Imagine needing to access a service in government and you need to go through a cadre, the PF government is busy dishing out money to hoodwink people into voting for them, but those people need healthcare services that needs to be taken care of by the same professionals who are not being motivated and taken care of. The PF govt must…

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  9. It’s so easy to write like this on a full tummy.
    The crime against humanity is to not pay the people who have worked for us and we do not want to pay them.

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  10. Friends you really need to be careful.
    The president has been dishing out millions of kwacha as “empowerment funds”.
    The vice president was distributing money on the streets in a viral video.
    Bowman lusambo and others have been dishing out millions.
    Hundreds of bicycles have been distributed around the country.
    We keep seeing millions upon millions being spent on irrelevant, politically motivated things.
    But paying doctors and essential workers is neglected.
    I wonder who is being immoral. The guy who works for months, or even years without being paid despite several appeals, or the guy who refuses to pay the wages, fails to buy medicines in hospital and spends all the money on trivial things for his own personal benefit. You be the judge.

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  11. Rev Kapya Kaoma, I like what you write most of the times but on this one. I beg to differ. A GO SLOW is not withdrawal of service. It is not a strike either. Doctors know that they are essential workers but you will never know how much work doctors do OUTSIDE their contracted hours. You probably have met a doctor in a church toilet and unbuttoned your shirt to show him a rash on your skin. The doctor has given you medical advice FREELY and perhaps even prescribed a remedy for your ailment. Try doing this to a lawyer. Tell him that you need legal advice and see how many lawyers will dish it to you on a free plate. Try telling a mechanic in the middle of nowhere that you need help for your broken down car. He will ask that you bring it to the service centre and there after tinkering, he…

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  12. The writer deliberately ignores the 10s of millions of kwacha lungu and his PF thugs have been dishing out , while people go unpaid…….????

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  13. It’s like a rogue father who spends his money on beer and other women telling his wife that she’s being inhuman for failing to cook for the family. If we must sacrifice, let’s do it together. Some of these issues have been pending since 2014. The PF doesn’t behave like a government facing a budget deficit.

  14. 1 }

    I am with the Doctors 100 percent. Yes, because they are Essential Workers, that’s why they should never have unpaid wages.

    Unpaid wages lead to:  *Teachers giving half baked education to pupils. *Policemen resorting to corruption and letting criminals walk away. *Doctors under perform because they are focused on survival of life such as finding food and paying rent.

    These are effects that bring stagnation in development. !!!

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  15. 2}

    PF is not even making attempts to provide assurances, but instead the Director of Media in PF threatening to have doctors fired. Simply satanic !

    The author of this article had at least some ounces of energy in his immune system which enabled him to process thoughts, concentrate and write this article.

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  16. 3 }

    a}. How can a policeman arrest a criminal when he has no energy due to lack of food caused by unpaid salaries

    b} . How can a teacher give kids good education when she/he is hungry because of unpaid wages

    c}. How can a doctor concentrate administering a patient or perform an operation in the theatre room when she/he is hungry and worried about his starving family.

  17. 4 }

    To the author.

    As you have noted Doctors are Essential Workers that’s why they should NEVER have to go without pay. This is because they save lives

    ******LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY, BUT MONEY IS IMPORTANT FOR SUPPORTING THE LIFE YOU WANT AND LIVE ******

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  18. Come work for me for free!!! I dont know who gives you a platform to write such nonsense, you start by lying, be clear Drs have been claiming since a long time and they have sat down for negotiations many times, if you work for free them become a Dr and do the work for free

  19. I totally agree. Although those are not doctors but mere upnd thugs who have been paid. Can they get their medical licences revoked

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  20. Who is this guy? This is utter drivel….it immoral to let people work without being paid salaries and to add insult they have not been paid for months.

  21. Quite a touching article Kapya. I fail to understand those that are talking about a full tummy – are the Resident Doctors not getting paid their salaries? I thought it is arrears and other fringe benefits that are outstanding? Kapya has not absolved the politicians of their negligence, but he wants the Doctors to take account of their actions. Politically polarized people are completely missing the point. And of course, the gullible opposition politicians have seized an opportunity. The examples Kapya has given are spot on: imagine soldiers staging a mutiny during a war.

  22. Nomba bane ubwina Kristju buntu tuitunga bulikwisa apa?. Kwaliba abena Kristu abashisumina ati nabalufyanya, kabali nokulungika apo balufyenye. Bushe kwena, kampingu tutushinina, nangu bumankonso, nokupama mulubembu?. Cite icayana bane, imyeo yabantu ilecula. Abakulipilwa, balipilwe, abakubomba nabo babombe. Mwila angashe icalo, neshuko lyakumisuminisha ukuba intungulushi. Natube abakutina Lesa kabumba, ala ubupingushi buleisa.

  23. But kwena you diplomats abroad should watch your jobs! Kapya Kaoma is really out to get your posts kabili bu bootlicker ebuleta inchito yabu diplomat. He knows how others have done it previously

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