OpEd, Politics

When shall we believe in our native doctors?

A lot of patients feel untreated when they are treated by South Sudanese doctors but feel fully treated when they are treated by foreign doctors. Though it has been a belief that people of the same origin rarely accept themselves, it should be known that specializations are not made for granted. Specialized doctors of different fields who once worked abroad for years, but decided to come back home to serve their own people are to be found in all the public and private hospitals and clinics.

The specialists working in the aforementioned hospitals and clinics are underrated and patients opt to get referred abroad for better treatment, but patients have not one day asked themselves why they are transferred to specific doctors, this is because these doctors have once worked together as a team.

Funny scenarios are happening, but patients still hardly believe in South Sudanese doctors, especially the recent scenario in which a breast cancer patient was told to be “mastectomized” here by a doctor who handles it better but refused and went to Khartoum, Sudan where she was admitted for mastectomy and when she was brought to the theatre, she recognized the doctor she said to have left in South Sudan.

This happened as the two oncologists use to transfer patients to one another and if it happens that there is or are complicated case or cases, they come together to operate on. That is why it is appropriate for patients to be transferred to specific doctors abroad as it both reduces medical costs and eases trouble searching for a specific doctor to handle it.

Let us come to categorize patients into those that are really referred abroad as a result of their illnesses being not treated in South Sudan and those who do not completely want to be touched by South Sudanese doctors for the reason that they are incapable. Almost every official has a personal doctor abroad, making it a culture to adopt by upcoming officials.

This happens partly as a result of suspicion that native doctors are easily reached by enemies and that, they feel insecure, and partly as a deceitful means of taking much money from health insurance funds. Believing in our native doctors to treat our typhoid, malaria, seizures, stomachache, hemorrhoids, appendicitis and other diseases that are best treated within the country but are taken abroad to be treated with a lot of dollars, is of great contribution to both economic recovery and development of the healthcare systems.


The same officials that complain about the underdevelopment of healthcare systems are the same officials flying abroad every now and then to get treated with diseases that I, as a medical student without consulting my seniors, can treat successfully. Typhoid is treated abroad and so do malaria, toothache, back pain, UTIs, STDs, fractures and stomachache. The diseases I only know should be taken abroad are diseases with transplants such as kidney, heart, brain, liver and marrow transplants, meanwhile cancers, after handling them here, can be referred abroad for chemotherapy.

To remind South Sudanese once again, roughly 3% of the world best doctors are South Sudanese doctors working abroad as a result of them being underestimated in their own country. One thing patient have not yet understood is that foreign doctors have told themselves that referred patients are semi-millionaires and that, they must be overcharged to make sure they are drained thoroughly that traveling back home, whether alive or dead, requires additional financial requests.

So, what benefit can dollars given to foreign doctors indirectly bring? To avoid brain, drain, healthcare systems must be developed and equipped, and doctors well paid. The development of the healthcare systems will automatically erase a false belief that native doctors are inexpert, but who is there to do that? Who is really there to improve the healthcare system?

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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