Health minister defends doctors' advertising

HARARE - Health minister David Parirenyatwa has backed government’s plans to amend the law to allow doctors to advertise, arguing the move will make the people alive to specialist services available in the country.

This comes as scores of desperate Zimbabweans have been flocking overseas, particularly India, to get specialist medical attention.

As a part of the code of medical ethics, doctors are not allowed to advertise because it would invite attention to their professional position, skill,  qualification, achievements, attainments, specialties, appointments,  associations, affiliations or honours and/or of such character and would ordinarily result in his self-aggrandisement.

“Our policy as it stands now doesn’t allow advertising per say, but as it stands now they can display and put signage that this is a medical practice, that this is a hospital, this is a practice,” Parirenyatwa said in an interview.

“But because we are now getting people who are now specialising, and we want the population to know. We are now looking at how we can do that and still make it professional and ethical,” he said.

Parirenyatwa, however, said there were concerns and considerations on how and where the adverts would be flighted.

“Do we put it in the paper that we have somebody who can be able to do laser therapy for eyes? Do we put it in the paper or do we allow that particular practitioner to talk about it in the radio? We are looking at all these things and how do we make the population know we have all these skills among our medical practitioners,” he said.

Parirenyatwa has since told members of the National Assembly that government was considering amending the policy which prohibits doctors from advertising.

The issue arose after Chegutu East Zanu PF MP Webster Shamhu asked in the National Assembly what government’s policy was regarding advertising by doctors

It comes on the back of doctors proposing to government sweeping amendments to the Health Professions Act to pave way for a new policy which allows health practitioners to advertise.

Comments (3)

People need to under the difference between informative advertising and persuasive advertising. Doctors must be allowed to place informative advertising. For example to say Hospital A, specializes in maternity or eye surgery. Even to say Doctor so and so is a heart surgeon and is located in such a street. I agree a lot of people do not know where most of the specialist doctors are found.

Chibaya - 16 August 2017

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