Founding Chairs Message

DR Joseph Aluoch, Guest of Honor
KAP Annual Scientific Conference. Mombasa - March 2010

It is with deep sense of privilege and gratitude that I accepted the honor you bestowed on me by inviting me to be your Guest of Honour at the KAP Conference being held at in this beautiful sea side city of Mombasa.

Let me take this opportunity to offer a special word of thank you to the organizers of this conference.

It is yet another example of corporation between the various branches of Kenya Association of Physician in hosting conferences which provide a clinical forum of continued medical education, a trade mark of Kenya Association of Physician.

Since its inception in 1992 Mr. Chairman the world in which the current professionals work has changed considerably from what it was half a century ago. Health care has become more than just medical practice, It is a human rights tool and an important business. Politics and economics impact highly on it. The theme for this year is conference is “Medical disorders, The future is now” indeed for health-care rapid political and technological changes around the world pose new challenges to medicine at the same time as they generate opportunity for the future generation of physicians.

Our young physicians must be prepared for more dynamic future that is fluid, boundless and highly competitive. They must learn to think for themselves use their imagination and prepare to try and have the resilience to bounce back whenever they suffer set backs in their medical practice as they will often. Our physicians must be motivated by their extreme passion and interest in medicine and not just by seeking extreme rewards. These are the attributes of our future physician that will tackle the current medical practice. Our physician must have innovative capacity and be prepared to tackle the ever changing medical disorders.

I like to take this unique occasion to address you on two or three concerns in our medical practice to-day, the changing professional ethics, health-care as a business and the role of professional associations in health care and medical education. Our society is changing from an agrarian one to the more individualistic one based on rule of law and impersonal relationships. This has far reaching implications on the relation between doctors and their patients and especially on medical ethics. Traditional communal ties and the honor accorded the doctors by the public can no longer be relied on as the sole measures enforcing ethical principles. Such measures have shifted from the one based on honor to the one based on the law. One implication of this is that medical ethics has change from the traditional one to one based on rational discourse. Measures must be found in order that ethics based on rational discourse becomes ingrained in our culture.

Traditionally doctors were held in a very high esteem in our society. Doctors were expected to be role models in ethical matters. There existed strong communal ties that bond doctors and their patients together. This relationship was not based on monetary or contraceptual principles but a bond of trust and respect. This traditional mode of doctor-patient relationship is now becoming an ideal of the past rather than a reality of the present. Doctors today have to abide by explicit legal framework involving contractual relationship with their patients and indeed with the society as a whole. Patients will increasingly demand as consumers do, that the doctors be accountable for their services. Doctors are no longer held simply because they are doctors, paragons of virtues, instead they are viewed as members of a profession performing services as a part of our economy, ethics is no longer based on ancient sources. Hence physicians- decision making have to change towards the formal and explicit based on individual reason, utilitarian principle of collective benefits. This change is in-electable call for a return to the past.

The profession is now confronted with ethical issues spurred on the conflicts and ethical problems very visible in the news media. Kenya media is no exception is exposing a lot of these examples. There is a growing debate over whether physicians should function like business men guided by customer satisfaction and profit. Many physicians still see medicine as a social endeavor. “Physicians are faced with business decisions everyday,” “If you don’t make these decisions, somebody else is going to make them for you. And although that has been true for most practicing physicians since the days when it made business sense to accept a chicken in lieu of cash. For many, it is no longer as easy to pick it up as you go along, and seat-of-the pants-style management might not be enough. As the country is racing forward to become one with the global culture of individualism, human rights, mercantilism, and so on, such traditional way life appears to become incongruous with the force of globalization. After all, one would hardly expect doctors to live entirely up to the ideals of monks who fore-go material life in pursuit of something noble. As parts of the globalized economy, doctors have to earn a living too, and this merely reflects the overall structural change in society. The Kenya Association of Physician mission is to promote the art and science of medicine for the betterment of the public health, to advance the interest of physicians and their patients, to promote public health, to lobby for legislation favorable to physicians and patients and promote medical education.

To improve professional development, the Kenya Association of Physician must promote CMEs. It is simply not possible for a physician having gained consultant appointment or its equivalent to become buried in clinical practice and to rely solely on experience if society is to be provided with high standard of medical care in the future. The overwhelming majority of physician recognize this and in an informed manner have tried to ensure the continued acquisition and dissemination of new knowledge by reading journal, writing articles and teaching medical students, others by being involved in clinical research participating in clinic meetings and by attending specialists’ society conferences. Given the rate at which medicine is advancing the complexities of many issues and the increasing expectation of the public it is essential that physicians continued medical education be placed in a more formal footing. In this regards the physician’s community should be deeply involved in the development of curriculum of post graduate education in internal medicine and contribute to examination perhaps it may not be in the far distance future when a college of physician of East Africa will become a reality to surpass the post graduate education in internal medicine.

The theme for this conference medical disorders the future is now. I see a full program with various topics. The way to predict the future is to create it. Here lies your challenge fellow physician. What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. Obstacles are only those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. Not my wish to make a speech. I was not prepared to say anything although this does not stop men from talking. I wish to comment KAP Mombasa Branch and express my satisfaction. I wish all participants a fruitful time at this conference. Ladies and gentlemen, fellow physicians we have a full program let us get down to work and remember to convert our words into action.

It is now my pleasure and privilege to declare the Kenya Association of Physician Scientific Conference open and wish you a fruitful deliberation.