The recent fiasco in the immunization exercise in Kapoeta was just the tip of the iceberg

Posted: June 16, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Martin Ariel Majak, Opinion Articles

By Martin Ariel Majak, Alexandria, Egypt

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South Sudanese youngsters, proudly showing off their natural, God-given skin.

June 16, 2017 (SSB) — It was a campaign kicked off to inoculate people with a vaccine that would serve as deterrent to future transmission of the disease. But instead of saving lives as it was intended, it just did the opposite, ending the lives of the innocent people. I’m just talking about the fateful measles vaccination in Kapoeta that saw 15 people lose their lives in the process of receiving the vaccines last month or so.

The cause of the deaths as investigated largely had to do with the way of the administration of the vaccine which was said to be abused. It was said teenagers, as young as 12 years and who were untrained as well, were the ones behind the administration of the vaccine. Can you imagine that a single syringe was said to have been used to vaccinate more than 20 people?

The case is not the first of such kind to have happen as there are many similar incidences of its kind that do go unreported in the rural village’s every day. It just the tip of the iceberg. In fact the health of poor South Sudanese, who are unable to access proper healthcare from good health facilities, is just at the mercy of God.

Many people have become paralyzed, condemned to wheelchairs, blinded or even died as a result of either wrong intramuscular injection or prescription of wrong drugs harmful to the health of the patient by the people who pose to be health care professionals. But here is the fact, there are many more quacks than real and true doctors operating loosely throughout our country. They outnumber trained health practitioners greatly and that’s saddening. They have their hands too in the toll of the suffering South Sudanese.

One of the most important principles of Medical ethics is, non-maleficence, which is not doing any harm to the patient in the course of the treatment. But do quacks know this? Not all I believe. What I know is that their target is not to help and treat sick people and act in patient’s best interest but they look at patients through the prism of money, something ethically unacceptable and abhorred in Medical profession.

What makes the number of quacks to proliferate but not slow down is the apparent lack of stringent penalties imposed on those who carry out the acts. There have to be punishments accorded to people based on the severity of the medical malpractice in order to reverse the trend dangerously being taken.

Just like the case that happened in Kapoeta, the perpetrators will after spending one week in the prison, be freed and then they go on to continue with their practices that may put other people’s health in harm. The teens thought to have taken part in the vaccination program were solely driven by the money factor.

The quacks in full operation everywhere should be rooted out to save many lives from being lost. It might seem a difficult task to carry out but identification of quacks is not some much of a problem. Check through their certifications and work experience if you want them hooked.

The recent fiasco in the immunization exercise in Kapoeta wasn’t surprising but just symptomatic of the events taking place in the wider communities. The same things are happening in the countryside but only that they go without notice. In a country at war with itself, the health of its citizens undoubtedly lies at the bottom of the to -do list of the government. Expect nothing tangible from the government less than condemnation of the act!

He’s a medical student in Alexandria University, Egypt. He can be reached via his email address at arielmajak93@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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