Doctors query MTN’s mobile health programme

THE doctor-patient physical contact is one of the most important parts of diagnosis in medical examination for adequate healthcare delivery, says Zambia Medical Association president Aaron Mujajati.

Dr Mujajati said in healthcare business, one cannot replace the doctor/patient physical contact because it was part of the treatment as the physician needed to see and touch in order to come up with a perfect diagnosis.

Reacting to the recently launched MTN Zambia mobile ‘‘hello doctor’’ programme Dr Mujajati said it was too vague and too broad.

During the launch MTN said its health programme would help close the gaps in the health care deliver system without the need to visit a health centre.

“First of all, our concern is that the programme is too vague and too broad. What gap are they closing up? “asked Dr Mujajati.

Dr Mujajati said while the programme aimed to promote access to medical services, there was need to understand the competence of the doctors offering the service,

“It is also important to understand too the manner in which the medical person was expected to administer the medication because MTN was not a healthcare provider,” said Dr Mujajati

He said MTN should disclose which health experts have been engaged in the mhealth service as well as the process of administering medications for treatment.

He said patients should also be accorded a legal course or redress in case of bad reaction or failed treatment to allow for other options in the line of treatment to be taken or given, as well as the level of patient confidentiality since the programme was an online service.

“We are also concerned with what happens to the doctor- patient confidentiality considering that the practice takes place on line, what happens to the patient’s privacy?” he asked.

MTN Zambia introduced a mobile health service called “Hello Doctor” as a way of contributing to the wellbeing of its customers.

But ZMA have questioned the method of diagnosis and drug administration as well of the level of qualifications of its medical experts involved in the service.