CLINICAL OFFICER IN TROUBLE FOR EXPOSING PATIENTS IN FACEBOOK POSTS

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BY BENNIE MUNDANDO

A CLINICAL officer who took photographs of people living with HIV seeking Antiretroviral drugs at a health facility he works for has caused an uproar with some sections of society now demanding that he must be identified, arrested, and fired for breaching confidentiality ethics.

About two days ago, a named clinical officer   believed to be based in Lusaka, circulated on his Facebook wall, photographs of people getting ARV at the clinic with the caption, “new and better ARVs in Govt institutions #ART clinic. At least I only had 145 clients today.”

He, however, later pulled down his post after receiving a social media barrage from his followers and later added “Muller” to his name but forgot to change his profile picture which most people on social media used to identify him.

The youth network in Zambia has demanded that the man be relieved of his duties “for such an embarrassing act” which it says does not only go against professional ethics, but is a drawback to fighting stigma and discrimination against people living with the virus.

Youth in Action for Sustainable Development (YASD) programmes manager, Zebedy Lukwesa, said the man’s behaviour was retrogressive and that decisive action must be taken against him because he was one of the bad eggs tarnishing the image of the medical profession in Zambia.

Mr. Lukwesa said in an interview yesterday that there was no justification for such an professional act from a person who was fully abreast with the professional conduct required of one in his position and that the Ministry of Health must immediately suspend and later fire the erring officer and appealed to the police to arrest him so that the law could take its course.

“There is no justification for such an act and as far as we are concerned, we will not rest until this officer is arrested and fired because he is a drawback to the fight against stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in Zambia and must never be condoned.

“Apart from this being a moral issue, he is required to exercise confidentiality over patients’ conditions. This was done purposefully. He cannot say he was not aware unless he is not trained and if he is not, how did he find himself giving medicine at the hospital? We demand that he be arrested so that he can be prosecuted. The Ministry must also fire him so that it serves as deterrent to would-be offenders,” Mr. Lukwesa demanded.

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