A top doctor with vast international experience says the Limpopo Health Member of Executive Council (MEC) Dr Phophi Ramathuba’s actions towards a patient were at variance with the dictates of their profession.
Dr Ramathuba lashed out at a patient of Zimbabwean origin recently who was in the country seeking healthcare services, citing political reservations as well as sparking igniting xenophobic comments against foreigners.
Her actions have since received huge political attention with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) calling for her immediate removal, describing her actions as cynical, arrogant and morally bankrupt.
Speaking to the South African media, Trauma Centre Borrowdale, Executive Director, Dr Vivek Solanki blasted Ramathuba saying her actions were wrong and inconsistent with their profession.
Dr Solanki is an internationally acclaimed medical practitioner with over 37 years of experience in the medical field, serving in different countries.
“First and foremost let me say medicine and politics do not go together,” said Dr Solanki.
“Medicine is an unthankful job. Our duty is to treat with disregard for money, colour, creed or ethnicity.
“I am surprised. I am a medical practitioner for 37 years in this region.
“We do not ask people where are they from, we do not ask what is your ethnicity. We treat them, and many times in an emergency we do not even ask what is your name. We save life, we do not give lectures to them afterwards, we do not politicise anything.”
Dr Solanki counselled fellow professionals not to discriminate against patients, “we do not turn them away because we are doctors first.”
He said he will not allow his Government to tell him that he “cannot treat somebody because of money, we treat them regardless.”
Meanwhile, Dr Solanki touched on the impact of sanctions on the health sector.
He said that the economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by western countries have impacted negatively on the health system.
“I run a private hospital, I need to buy medical equipment. I cannot buy western medical equipment because of sanctions.
“I would have to buy it through a third party, through South Africa, through China, through India, but I cannot buy it directly.
“So we have those challenges,” said Dr Solanki.
A local private hospital has since offered to pay the medical bills for the Zimbabwe patient demeaned by the South African doctor.