Lessons from the HIV/Aids movement: Cancer patients know & enforce your medical rights


I watch and listen with sadness to people in public service shouting and abusing citizens. Hospital workers asserting their right to "scream at" late presentation breast cancer patients because the latter need to be put in their place. Servile idiots who choose to sit at home with rotting breasts. 


Many questions come to mind, chief among them is: 

What give any healthcare worker the right to shout and demean vurnerable patients? 

What training do nurses and Doctors receive on the impact socio-economic, cultural and political stressors have on the South African public healthcare system, and ultimately on patient health outcomes?

What, if anything, do our healthcare practitioners at primary health level know about national burden of disease care and control public healthcare strategies. Since a knowledge of the full spectrum disease management elements like public awareness campaign/education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, palliation, survival and beyond would incline them not to put the blame on the " very late presentation breast cancer" woman or man. They would realize that the issue is in fact - failure to educate and promptly treat - an omission by the GOVERNMENT (National Department of Health) and not by the breast cancer awareness IGNORANT patient who stumbled into a public breast unit baffled by her tennis ball sized stench drenched fungating tumor.


Education is a life source. Little education - especially by those who think they are "educated" is a nightmare. They chastise citizens screaming mumbo jumbo like -


"you have to listen to me and do as I say or I shall report you to Dr Cubasch (Head of Breast Unit) because this is his clinic. Beware not to listen to Kwanele (advocate moi) because this clinic does not belong to her. It belongs to Dr. Cubasch"


or try put Kwanele "in her place" saying


"If you have any complaint against me. Please do not talk to me. Talk to Herbert (aka Dr. Cubasch) because it is his clinic".  


Bantu? When did a public institution become a public employee's property? Why do people in public service think they are immune from censor by patient advocates - simply because the latter has no formal medical training. Are South African healthcare practitioners aware of the growing global patient group networks mobilising to ensure that the patients' voice is represented at all levels of national healthcare policy development and implementation. The time for paternalistic medicine is past. We are in a new information era and patients are demanding patient-centred healthcare services. 


African health challenges require robust thinkers across multi-stakeholder sectors. Title worshippers and yes men need to change or ship out. Here is a new paradigm described:


"The healthcare challenges in Africa are complex and multifaceted: we face the double burden of commuicable and non-communicable diseases, large inequities in the treatment and prevention of disease, and stigma and discrimination. These problems are compounded by widespread poverty, gender inequalities, socio-cultural issues and a lack of cooperation between sectors. I strongly believe that we can improve the lives of people in the [African] Region through the practice of patient-centred healthcare, and collaboration is an essential element in making this a reality." - Regina Namata Kamoga, International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO) Governing Board Member & Country Manager (Uganda), Community Health and Information Network (CHAIN) 


Source: IAPO Regional Meeting Report for AFRICA, p.3




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