Human Rights Ministry and the fight against AIDS [Archives:2006/1009/Reportage]

December 21 2006

By: Karolina Plickova
and Ossama Musalam

Karolina Plickova and Dr. Ossama Musalam are two journalists from the UNDP and the UNFPA keen on finding information persistently. Earlier this month, on the occasion of the international day for fighting HIV/AIDS, the two journalists sought to interview Khadeja Al-Haisami, minister of human rights on the ministry's role in fighting the disease.

Breathlessly, we went up the stairs of the ministry while revising the questions which we would ask Khadeja Al-Haisami. Because of the minister's tight schedule and numerous obligations, we thought that we should prepare ourselves to a quarter an hour interview. On contrary to our expectations, the minister with the strong commitment to her work and country dedicated one hour and fifteen minutes of her busy time to us.

What is the relationship between the Ministry of Human Rights and HIV\AIDS patients?

Who would protect the patients' rights if we do not take the initiative. The ministry of Human Rights and Ministry of Public Health are the two wings for patients' rights. The coordination between these two ministries is a tangible translation for these rights, to transfer them from mere words towards full implantation.

The patient's rights are a complicated topic and have various dimensions and any wrong step, in the beginning, will cost Yemen more money, effort and time.

Yes, as a long-term target we need to change the culture; the culture of patient's treatment, health care system, the family and the society. We have a lot of convictions that should be changed. From my point of view, they are very attached and associated to our traditions and customs. The religion has nothing to do with them.

In the mid term, I think that integrating the patient's rights within the curricula of faculty of medicine and nursing as well as in all medical providers sectors will be very beneficial. These documents should include patient's rights, keeping his or her privacy, listening to him, giving him enough and correct medical information without hurting anyone's feeling and keep the patient's dignity.

In a short term, the training is a key case. Training and training, train doctors, nurses and medical aid staff as well as all the medical services providers, how to deal with patients. Moreover, training school teachers will have a good impact on coming generations. The training is not very costly and its results are unlimited, if it has been done efficiently.

It will be also so influential and effective to include religious scholars and to listen to them how to deal with patients. I was very glad to find out that Patient's Rights Treaty which, I was keen to sign, had included a Holy Hadith “My slave