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News Analysis: Faltering Dreams: The Fight for Inclusivity

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Dr. Tazebachew Wudie

By Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb

Addis Abeba: Social media has been ripe with stories of medical students facing salient administrational challenges, owing to their disabilities.  It was a recent phenomenon that Dr. Biniam, a person with a disability, was solved after a huge Ethiopian social and broadcast media controversy. 

Weeks later, Dr. Tazebachew Wudie, an Obstetrics and Gynecology resident, raised a new debated decision made by the Black Lion Hospital Obstetrics and Gynecology department a year ago concerning his visual problems.

The issue was first disclosed on the Facebook page  Hakim ,  which has more than 250,000 followers and is well known for writing and sharing concerns thematic to medicine. Dr. Tazebachew, detailed his sorrows, ups ,and downs, obstacles , comments ,and suggestions on the Hakim page for public comment under the title Call for Truth: for Non Biased Professionals.

Dr. Tazebachew spoke to Addis Standard, and said that he joined the Obstetrics and Gynecology department after he fulfilled the requirements and passed the exam. 

“ I already had taken the physical and mental checkups before joining as stated in the prerequisites.”  He underlined, adding that there wasn’t anything related to visual concerns back then. According to the doctor, afterward, he was told to quit, he stressed that he tried what he could but it was unsuccessful in the end. 

Daniel Fekadu, lawyer and consultant, who previously assisted Dr. Biniam said he was contacted by Dr. Tazebachew after the news of Dr. Biniam returning to the medical school of Black Lion Hospital. “Immediately after I assumed legal representation of Dr. Tazebachew,  we wrote a letter of complaint addressed to the Addis Abeba University President and Administrative Board to get the solution at the administrative level, however, we didn’t receive any response from them. But we heard that a new committee was formed under the supervision of the president.” According to Daniel,  Dr. Tazebachew was forced to quit from his Obstetrics and Gynecology department when he left with three months to defend his thesis and graduate, in connection to his visual impairment ,and was made to join the Neurosurgery specialty department. 

“ It has been more than a year since Dr. Tazebachew quit his speciality and joined another specialty which he was forced into. He Brought the issue to the public after he witnessed the justice served to Dr. Biniam.” According to Daniel, Dr. Tazebachew  accepted the new specialty after his unsuccessful trial to get a solution by himself.  
 

If the issue is not solved at the administrative level, we will be urged to take the issue to court, Danel, told Addis Standard. 

There are plenty of testimonies Hakim’s Facebook Page mentioning different instances whereby individuals attested to Dr. Tazebachew’s competence in practicing the profession. Dr. Daniel Fantahun, a colleague of Dr. Tazebachew’s, had this to say about him: “Out of the surgeries performed by Dr. Tazebachew, I co-participated in five of them. During the surgery,  he excelled in his duties, which he backed with knowledge and advanced techniques, causing minimal adverse effects. Let us shout for the incoming 4000 plus mothers whom he would have assisted, for  delivery and not only the 400 mothers who have already been assisted and delivered infants.”

Similarly, Sulieman Shigutie, a medical law consultant, stated that “Yeah, returning Biniam to the medical school was a good and well-deserved decision. I can say this is good news mainly for student Biniam and those who fought hard for the truth. But what do we have to say about other medical students like Dr. Tazebachew and others who are suffering day and night as a result of such brutal and irresponsible behavior of the medical school system? 

‘’ It is difficult for me to say this is a victory to the medical school system where there are actually a bunch of medical students out there suffering from such bad behaviors in various medical schools in Ethiopia. Compared to what is happening to the vast majority of medical students in Ethiopia this is just the tip of the iceberg….“, he added. 

As per World Bank data from 2018,  the Ethiopian doctors to patients ratio was one doctor to 10,000 patients while two years before that, it was revealed that one specialist surgical workforce was serving 100,000 people.

The Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA) Perspective
In a published press release, dated 27 July 2022,  the EMA, in its part, said there are ongoing discussions with stakeholders to solve the dilemma of Dr. Tazebachew. The association didn’t put forward any direct reflections as to how the solution would be enacted but it mentioned that the health care system should be inclusive. 

Addis Standard’s repeated attempts to reach the Black Lion Hospital for comment were not successful. The Ethiopian Obstetrics and Gynecology Society declined to offer remarks when contacted. AS




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