GMA: Doctors Can’t Publicise Health Status Of State Officials Except. . .

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has stated medical practitioners have no right to disclose the health details of public officials, likewise other clients.

Dr Frank Serebour, the Vice President of the GMA, made the assertions Monday morning in an interview on the Morning Xpress on Radio XYZ, regarding the ongoing debate on whether or not the health status of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who is on a medical leave in London, be made known to Ghanaians.

There have been lots of speculations in the Ghanaian media space regarding the ailment of the Vice President, with many calling for government to announce the illness he is battling in the UK just as his medical leave was announced.

But Dr Serebour, a medical practitioner with many years of experience, however, argues that such people regardless their public status, own a right to keep what health condition they’re battling to themselves.

“When it comes of disclosures of such nature; Doctor- Patient relationship, I think the responsibility does not lie on the doctor to go out there and say what is wrong with his patient unless with the express permission of the patient,” he told Kofi Oppong Asamoah, the host of the show.

According to Dr Serebour, the phenomenon exists “to preserve the patient -Doctor confidentiality” as has been the norm in their practice, until a Law Court orders them to do so under some conditions.

“. . .In the case of cases where public health is at risk  . . . and sometimes through by the order of the court, a Doctor is allowed to disclose, otherwise no Doctor can go out there and speak about the diagnosis of his patient,” said Dr Serebour.

He said although in other countries, public officials willingly tell their health status to their citizens, the case was not same in Ghana. He then proffered that until there is a national consensus on how to deal with health information of state officials, doctors will have nothing to do with making public those details.

He continued that: “Yes! They (government officials) are being taken care of by the tax payer’s money, but there are not express laws to state that once you are a minister of state or a government appointee your health status should be made public at any particular point in time. I don’t think there are any laws that say that.  . .It is a very grey area and I think the only way we can go about it is to set the parameters” and indicate that if a public appointee is sick and details of his sickness need to be made public, a board be set up to be briefed on the details just as public officials declare their assets to the state.

“There are times that, as medical personnel, we get to know some of the things that are wrong with some these people but you can’t come out and say it. They pass through our hospitals they pass through our clinics but there is no way you can come out and talk about them,” Dr serebour observed, stressing that it behoves on the vice president to make his health information public or otherwise.


Source: Ghana/ Xpress

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