The Tragedy of Medical Practice in Yemen [Archives:1997/43/Health]

October 27 1997

A Tragic Situation The current bad conditions of the medical profession can be traced back to following factors. 1- The law governing medical practices is not observed by any of the concerned authorities. 2- Unqualified persons have opened small clinics where they administer injections and dress wounds. 3- Many medical assistants, technicians, and nurses disguised as doctors, deceive many patients. 4- Several foreigners come under many assumed titles, and are allowed to practice medicine without the slightest checking of their credentials. 5- Under the guise of herbal medicine, many charlatans often claim to be able to cure enumerable ailments. No medical body exists to control these people. 6- Private hospitals and medical centers are being established without any governing regulations. Many rich lay persons today now open private hospitals as an investment, irrespective of any qualification criteria. 7- There is a marked lack of supervision and restriction on the distribution and sale of poisonous or sedative drugs. 8- State-owned hospitals are not up to standard, either. 9- Yemeni doctors are not treated as well as their foreign counterparts working in Yemen. They suffer from a lot of neglect, and are very measly paid as compared to the non-Yemeni doctors. 10- Forensic medicine is almost non-existent.
General Practice General practitioners often work in public and private hospitals without the supervision of specialists, especially during night duty. This negligence, on part of the hospital’s management may lead to unfortunate, and sometimes lethal consequences as had occurred in an appendicitis patient who was given a tranquilizer to relieve his pain. This case was discovered just in time, as his inflammation was about to turn into peritonitis. He was taken to a private hospital to undergo emergency surgery. Some deaths occur which could have been prevented. Yemen should follow the example of other countries were new medical graduates are obliged to spend two years of internship under the supervision of specialist doctors. Specialist doctors should also be present in rural health centers to supervise the work of GPs. Richer inhabitants go to private hospitals in the nearest town. Matters are sometimes left in the hands of the medical orderly, GPs would also be absent. Senior doctors should regularly visit rural health centers. Volunteering for humanitarian causes should also be considered. Hospital mismanagement is usually due to incompetent doctors appointed without any criteria. Young and inexperienced doctors often manage badly run hospitals. State hospitals are established with scant regard to the availability, or otherwise, of the necessary qualified cadres.
The College of Medicine The College of Medicine in Sana’a University is probably the only college in the world where there is no forensic medicine. Worse still, there are still posts for human and pathological anatomy . Foreign scholarships for Yemeni medical graduates are very few. Therefore the country lacks the necessary qualified specialists making it dependent on foreign doctors.
Treatment Abroad The special medical committees, which determine the eligibility of patients to seek medical help abroad are also incompetent. Sick people wishing to take advantage of the limited free health services allocated for Yemeni citizens in friendly countries, face many obstacles. An example of the committee inefficiency is a recent case of considering a 15-year-old heart patient. The work of these committees is riddled with all sorts of favoritism, resulting in denying many emergency patients the right to go abroad for their medical treatment.
By:  Dr. Ahmed Abdulaziz Nouman