NATION

Racial Discrimination Not Allowed In Health Services: Dr Waqainabete

 An expatriate doctor serving in the Western Division has made claims of being a victim of discrimination by patients, including his colleagues. Tavua Hospital’s acting senior medical officer, Dr Patrick
21 Dec 2018 10:18
Racial Discrimination Not Allowed In Health  Services: Dr Waqainabete
Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete meets and greets those who came to Tavua Hospital during his tour on December 20, 2018. Photo: Nicolette Chambers
 An expatriate doctor serving in the Western Division has made claims of being a victim of discrimination by patients, including his colleagues.

Tavua Hospital’s acting senior medical officer, Dr Patrick Okhue, said over the past three years, he had received discriminative comments from medical health professionals and patients at the hospital.

Dr Okhue, a Nigerian, raised the issue with the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, during his tour to the hospital yesterday.

He said on several occasions he received comments to return to Nigeria.

“The comments that I receive from patients are more discriminative. On several occasions they speak their own language which I don’t understand those who speak English they openly say ‘this black man, leave this place’,” he claimed.

“I have had so many colleagues and patients who tell me ‘go back to your country, why are you in this country?’. Once they see that I am a foreigner their attitude towards me is different. Racism is not tolerated and for us to be receiving this treatment is uncalled for.”

Dr Okhue described the attitude of security officers stationed at

the hospital he serves as “toothless dogs” because they failed to address the issue after witnessing incidents.

He claimed that even his daughter, who is a student at a primary school in Tavua, also received discriminative comments while in school.

“The recent case was with one patient, he actually swore at me and I said ‘why do I deserve this? If I am providing services for you people here, I don’t deserve this insult. I hope they would do more awareness on this to respect health professionals and I hope and pray this Government will do more about racial discrimination,” he said.

Dr Waqainabete said no person should be discriminated.
“In the Constitution, no one is to be discriminated, that is unacceptable,” he said.

“We are asking the Police to increase their patrols around the Tavua Hospital.”

He said he would speak with the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, concerning the need to increase Police patrols around the hospital precinct.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun. com.fj

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