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Nick Mangwana and the Medical Assassins, Did he mean any harm?

26 Jan 2021 at 19:53hrs | Views
The past few days social media was awash with the news of the Permanent Secretary of Information Ndavaningi Mangwana's statement on the Medical assassins. Many sort to accuse Nick for alleging that there are some medical assassins in our midst. A medical assassin is a doctor that kills his patients by either mis-prescribing or over-prescribing medicine or treatment or by wilful neglect or refusing or pretending to be giving medication. A doctor, known more precisely as a physician, is a health care provider who practices the field of medicine.

Doctors reacted with fury over comments by Ndavaningi Mangwana, the permanent secretary in the ministry of information. Government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana appeared to suggest that doctors hostile to President Emmerson Mnangagwa's regime are killing government officials admitted at Zimbabwean hospitals. This came after four  cabinet ministers and dozens of other government officials have died as the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm Zimbabwe's creaking health sector.  The anger generated by the statement is surprising. These were comments made on Twitter which suggests that Mangwana claimed there were "medical assassins" working in the health sector. The doctors alleged that there was no evidence other than citing "an unfortunate conspiracy theory."

The Senior Hospital Doctors Association called Mangwana's claims "regrettable" and the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights warned that "the continuous persecution of medical practitioners is likely to destabilise the health sector."

A lot of fury and anger was flown all over with the detractors trying to turn the social media comment into a political spat.

Mangwana showed his utmost maturity by apologising to the doctors and anyone who might have been offended. We do applaud the statesman character exhibited by comrade Nick Mangwana.
Cde Mangwana has never doubted the extraordinary work being done by the medical and health staff during this pandemic. He himself has been a health care worker and understands fully well the challenges faced by these multitudes of medical and health workers.  Nick Mangwana in another meeting was quoted as saying about the health workers.

"We truly have but the struggle continues. Luminaries going at the behest of the invisible enemy"
In another recording cde Mangwana commented on doctors and nurses.

"Their caring touch deserves our utmost respect, but the truth is under these COVID circumstances  they need the support of each and everyone of us"

This shows a man who has a deep entranced understanding of the needs of Doctors and nurses.  He is a man who will never trivialise the work of these heroes who are exposing themselves to COVID for the country to be served.

On the same breath we must understand that the deceased  government officials were friends to Nick Mangwana and some of them he had met and spoke to them few days before they got sick. It is therefore common that in such a situation of grief questions like why? are being asked. Despite his office Nick is a human being. He has feelings. Behind this tough talking ever smiling man there is a person. So Nick was overwhelmed by a comment suggesting that there are doctors who are practicing politics in their medical practice. This is not far fetched at all.

Doctors should not claim to be angels. Zimbabwe had seen medical witches before.  We once had a doctor McGowan who experimented on people. We had several doctors in Zimbabwe who have been arrested of are on the run after some malpractice which borders on witchcraft.  The fact that aspersions have been cast towards the doctors domain does not mean doctors are being accused.
Without taking away Mangwana's apology it must be noted that Mangwana did not accuse doctors but acknowledged that he is aware that there are allegations of such malpractices. This came after a doctor twitted that his colleagues are refusing to treat people who support ZANU PF.

We are not blind to the fact that some doctors show their political inclinations during their industrial actions. All this comes to play when one of their own Tweets a warning of malpractice.

For the doctors to turn around and play victim in a social media case is regrettable and unfortunate. Doctors should stop hunting for an elephant in a small hut.
While our doctors have worked so hard in very difficult conditions they must not act as untouchables. When a finger points at them they must just state facts deny the facts and put the the facts straight.

To create a mountain out of a anthill is wrong and unfair. There is no doubt that our doctors deserve better and Nick is an advocate for that.

It's not just a fair deal for our nurses, it's much better for patients too.
The simple truth is tired, overworked staff cannot be expected to provide the high quality of care we want our loved ones to receive. But this does not justify a political discrimination by doctors and nurses.
Nick Mangwana has confirmed the importance of nursing in our society as it promotes health, healing and development and prevention of disease illness, injuries and disability. Nick also advocates that when people are sick the purpose of nursing is to reduce the level of distress and suffering and allow the patients to understand their disease processes as well as coping mechanism, treatment and implications. Nick as a person knows that doctors and nurse provide compassionate care to all patients despite their nationalities, religion, gender, age, disability and other factors that may influence their health outcomes. It's his personal belief that all human beings should be treated equally with care and integrity.

When Nick Twitted in his personal capacity He hoped doctors and nurses to develop a caring attitude and to find the importance of being appreciated by the patients when they have helped them through their illness hence in transition they will provide a safe and competent care that not only satisfy clients need but also their families. To ensure their well-being by following Zimbabwean council guidelines that obligate them to provide safe and competent care.

In providing competent care, they will employ empirical knowing known as scientific knowledge. This knowledge is gained through research based on scientific methods and rational, deductive thinking not political correctness. The doctors and nurses must use this knowledge when assessing patients' vital signs which are based on scientific facts. They must not assess patients using their political inclinations. Our hope and prayers are that doctors   strive to use the scientific knowledge and information available in gaining the requisite factual knowledge. Not to use the Twitter to react to gossip. This means continuous consultation with their colleagues and  learning what causes disease and first hand care that should be given. This knowledge is attainable both theoretically and also through clinical practice.

This is what Nick stands for and poking the doctors on assassin mentality is merely to say to them in case.

We are aware that Covid needs more scientific research and Knowlledge. This scientific knowledge is also acquired from other external sources that can be tested and verified empirically. The solutions recommended for a particular case can be proved quantitatively using known scientific methods.
The knowledge is acquired not by picking fights over comments elsewhere but by the personal understanding of various concepts applicable in the medical process.

Instead of concentrating on unsubstantiated and unofficial comments not officially directed to you doctors must be able to empathize with patients through understanding better the concept of human being.

Furthermore doctors must understand grief. This is because in their profession there is continuous interaction with people all the time. There are various aspects that make up a human being. These include the psychological, social, spiritual and physical aspects. So doctors must not react to that social aspect and mourn like they are perfect.

Anyone who misunderstood Nick's comments must be able to place self in Nick's shoes and understand his feelings more. Instead of using a hammer over Nicks heart you should offer moral support while at the same time protecting the rights and freedoms of the patients.

Doctors  must ensure high quality standards in their practice.  This is through understanding of self, colleagues, community and health consumers' responsibilities and expectations in the profession. They must not be on the edge and waiting to pushed over by journalists who seek to make news by setting the doctors against Mangwana.

Our doctors must learn and appreciate the ethical parameters that apply to the profession. These will mainly be gained from the environment and the surroundings. They will make them informed of the moral choices they should make when confronted with various situations in the workplace and journalistic gossip. In this regard we should strive to know the environment of the patient which relates to the nature of health care that has been at their disposal without being edgy. This will have a tremendous effect on the kind of doctors we will have under pressure. A doctor must therefore develop the necessary practical skills that will act as a guide in identifying the predetermining factors in caring for a patient and be able to spit out gossip.

The other way of knowing is to understand the aesthetic value of the patient without mixing with gossip. As a doctor One will be in a position to perceive the needs of a patient at first sight. This is the current situation that faces the patient and the individual circumstances that are unique to him. This will guide the practical actions that need to initiated and implemented to ensure the patient is attended to promptly and in time without asking for his status in life.

The socio political dynamics that face the health care profession must be known by the healthcare professionals and we have no doubt our doctors knows this. Together doctors and everyone should  strive to identify the current trend in the socio-political arena so that we can be equipped with relevant information affecting health care in this pandemic. This will improve our knowledge of understanding the patients better and recognizing their other needs such as psychological and social needs.

Doctors must identify other underlying conditions besides the main complaint that brought the patient to hospital. This includes knowing other predetermining factors such as social origin which may determine the conditions that the patient is predisposed to. But it must not be a basis of discriminating patients based on their political beliefs.

All these ways of knowing must be applied together in order to achieve the holistic aims of the profession. This is due to the fact that medicine is not just a science but it is also an art and a way of life.

It encompasses several processes such as learning, leadership and decision making. This is also in recognition that there is great mingling of cultures in the health profession. These cultures and attitudes must be understood in order to offer valuable service to clients.

Doctors are not politicians they have chosen the profession because they have a passion for caring for patients. This implies that they must be prepared to be accountable for all their actions during the performance of assigned duties. They must be accountable to themselves the patient, the employer, the public at large and also to the profession The entire society places a lot of trust on them and they must accept it when they are questioned. It is therefore imperative to ensure that they are fully equipped with all the necessary skills so as not to betray this trust. In the exercise of the accountability role, they will exercise their responsibility and authority roles as designated. They will also make sure that they continuously engage in research and development activities. This will make them aligned to latest trends in the profession. It will ensure efficiency and compliance on their part.

They must also engage in professional evaluation. This means that their capabilities will be subject to review from competent personnel in the industry and public at large. They will be able to get constructive responses and feedback from colleagues especially those with more experience. This will enable them know which areas they should focus on to effect personal development. They must not focus on social media.
They must also engage in collegiality. This will make them contribute to the professional career development of colleagues and other health care professionals. This will cultivate the culture of sharing knowledge and skills with colleagues in the profession not sharing Tweets which do not advance their cause. Doctors must also maintain ethics in all their actions both inside and outside the hospital. This ensures that their profession is not in disrepute due to their actions. It will ensure patient-nurse relationship through dignity and preservation of patient autonomy. It is also evident through maintenance of patient confidentiality to avoid any legal and regulatory consequences.

As much as Nick apologised the doctors must work without casting dark clouds in the way they are dealing with political patients.

Covid respects no persons no political party nor any social status.
We must all support our medical and health staff. We must not let gossip divide us.

Nick Mangwana is not a saint but is NOT a villain.

Source - Dr Masimba Masimba
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