In a study done some time ago in Malaysia, it was reported that Malaysians trust their doctors the most. It has been an ongoing trend where we see many people (despite the lack of jobs that the younger doctors are facing), many still prefer to choose it as their occupation of choice.
However, it was a sad day when just a few weeks ago, the Ministry of Health issued a gag order to all medical staff. This has been rather confusing, as on one hand, we have the Vaccine Minister who want doctors to help advocate vaccine uptake to their patients, but on the other hand, a gag order is in place that doesn’t allow health care professionals to voice out.
The ministry must remember that these days, patients are different from the ones we have witnessed in the past. Many are literate and are medically aware of conditions before they come in.
Rarely do you see a patient these days who comes and complain of symptoms but after much search over the ease of using the internet, they come with a diagnosis and wanting to confirm with the medical professional.
There are occasions when the patients are wrong or ‘over-diagnosed’ themselves, but sometimes they are right, which goes to show the power of information dissemination. Of course, there is also another fact of wrong information dissemination which must be curbed.
But with the introduction of this gag order, the government must realise that they have silenced the majority who are advocating on the right issues, but they have not silenced those who continue to produce wrong information.
In other words, those who are the best bet to defend the ministry, especially on vaccinations, have been asked to keep mum, whilst there is free flow of wrong information being given to patients. In the past, doctors addressed this by writing in first so that the public is well aware of the truth before the inaccurate messages on social media begin to viral.
This is a cause for concern. There are many doctors whom have selflessly acted in the best interest of their patients. Yes, I agree, there are a few bad apples who might spread misinformation, but that does not mean that we silence everyone.
Why also silence and threaten the whistleblowers? Aren’t they the ones who are ensuring that whatever is done make medical and scientific sense?
Aren’t they the ones on the ground who witness what is happening? Some say channel it to the right source? The people who say that obviously have not lodged a complaint in their life!
Now do you realise why many doctors are keeping mum on the vaccine registration and uptake? Many fear that they will be victimised if they do so, even if they are advocating the right thing.
Wake up Malaysia!
CodeBlue is publishing this letter anonymously as the author requested, in support of civil servants who have been given a gag order.
This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.