POLICE must be commended for their quick response to the reported assault of a doctor at Kelene Mission Hospital in Ikeleng’i on Tuesday.
For barely two days after the unfortunate happened, the police have arrested two suspects in connection with the assault.
The arrest of the two suspects was confirmed by the North-Western Province deputy commissioner of police Dr Fred Mulenga. He named the suspects as Fordson Saji aged 45 and his 57-year-old brother Binwell Saji.
The two men are said to have attacked Dr Chola Kafwimbi after the death of their brother Amon Saji who had a kidney problem and was admitted at the health facility for treatment.
But while we mourn with the family over the loss of their loved one, we do not support the manner in which they reacted by attacking medical personnel.
We hope that the wheels of justice, while taking note of the circumstances of their offence will also mete out the appropriate punishment to send a message to the public that physical attacks on health staff is off limits.
Yes, there have been similar attacks on medical staff at other health institutions elsewhere in the country where people wrongly accuse them of negligence.
They fail to appreciate that the doctors and nurses do not rejoice when they lose a patient, that they also share in their pain.
They also do not appreciate that the medical staff are over stretched not only in terms of inadequate staffing levels but also compounded by the shortage of drugs.
Although there are a few bad eggs in the medical profession, it is important to appreciate that the majority take their calling seriously and would go out of their way to attend to a patient.
In the Kalene incident, the two brothers accused Dr Kafwimbi of being negligent, thus leading to their brother’s death.
“But after the patient passed on, relatives attributed his death to negligence by the doctor and hence pounced on him which resulted into assault,” disclosed Dr Mulenga.
The public must realise that one of the fastest ways in which to frustrate medical workers is to start assaulting them physically and we do not think they want the doctors, nurses and other staff to abandon the health facility.
For if they were to do this, it is the local population who would suffer. They would be left with a shell of a hospital that has no staff.
In fact, in most instances, people have a tendency of seeking medical attention when someone’s illness has deteriorated to such an extent that even the medical staff are unable to save them.
In their ignorance, they would heap the blame on the hospital staff.
We hope however that in the aftermath of the Kelene incident, the local leadership, particularly the traditional leaders would go out of their way and impress upon the local population that they need to make peace with the hospital staff.
They ought to appreciate that they have offered to serve in a rural setting when the general trend has been that some people posted to rural areas start pressing for transfers to the urban areas even before they have settled.
This is one of the reasons why schools in rural areas are understaffed compared to those in urban centres.
But going forward, let there be a new beginning
in Ikeleng’i between the local population and hospital staff, that they all want a healthy population – and that starts with appreciating one another.