By Kudakwashe Pembere
A problem shared is a problem half solved. The adage aptly fits what should be happening in workplaces where workmates should disclose their medical information and history with one another.
The disclosure of medical information is a controversial issue that many employers, employees, policy makers and researchers have contrasting views about it. The 2017 World Health Day theme “Depression, Lets Talk” came about as a result of increased cases of deaths related to depression as people keep heavy stuff inside their hearts.
Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Epilepsy, Diabetes are some of the common medical conditions that many Zimbabweans have.
Only the people you live with at home, your next of kin or some of your relatives know about your medical condition. What about your workmates? Don’t you think they deserve to know as well?
Some might try to be macho hiding their medical conditions which in the future might endanger their lives.
Others do not disclose their medical conditions for fear of being considered a liability by their bosses while others do it for fear of stigma by other co-workers. But it is important, nonetheless, to let all your workmates and superiors know about the medical conditions.
Gone are the days when people’s medical information was confidential. You have to share your medical information.
There are big companies which afford medical officers who monitor the well-being and lives of their employees. However, for those employed in the SMEs sector, its is wiser to make your health or condition a public secret as it helps you in the event of either an Asthma or Epileptic attack.
Speaking to one of the budding emergency health services provider Emergency Rooms 24 EMT Nadat Ishamel emphasized on the need of disclosing your medical status to your co-workers.
ER24 stand at the just ended EMS expo
“You know keeping your workmates in the dark about your medical condition is not good. There are a lot of times when we arrive at workplaces to attend to people with various medical conditions in an emergency.
“These emergency scenarios at workplaces could be avoided if workmates share their medical conditions. They should educate their co-workers on what to do in cases of an emergency. For example if one is diabetic, all they need is an insulin injection to be well again when they collapse.
“For people with Asthma, they need their inhalers with them which co-workers should know how to use on the person,” he said.
He also noted that some keep their medical information private because they do not want to be pitied.
“There are people who keep their medical information to themselves because this one will feel pity on me, such kind of stuff,” said Nadat.
ER24 AT Nyasha Nyamadziwa said it is important for epileptics to tell their co-workers about their condition in the event they get a job which involves too much lighting.
“Epileptics also need to let their workmates know about their condition lest they get into fits after getting exposed to light flashes at work,” he said.
Nyamadziwa explained what happens when they get a call from a person in need of emergency medical assistance.
“When a person calls, I engage them in a usual conversational manner asking their name, what happened, etc. I also take note of their number in case their airtime runs out so that I can call them back.
“After they tell me this, let’s say they are in an accident, the one who is in a position to help the serious one will be instructed to stabilise the situation. This way, they are kept occupied so that by the time the ambulance arrives, it would seem as if it didn’t take long,” he said.
“The last thing that people with asthma when in an attack is to talk, so we instruct the person who is able to talk to keep the patient calm and relaxed. There wouldn’t be any need to put the asthma patient in panic mode as this will disturb the flow of oxygen,” he said.
Nadat felt that one of the issues ignored at the Zim Afro Emergency Medical Services Conference and Expo was education to the public on what to do in cases of an emergency.