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Media Council: Doctors wasting time giving advice on radio, TV, newspapers

Sethoscope

BY PETER ONDABU

Radio Jambo producers will not like what the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has said in its latest The Media Observer bulletin.

Neither will the doctor who was fielding listeners’ questions on Radio Jambo’s mid-morning show on Tuesday May 22, which the MCK observers were analysing.

In MCK’s opinion, the idea of a doctor in a studio taking questions from the public is a waste of time because it often offers to room for the medic to ask follow-up questions and that often, the doctor advises the concerned party to seek medical advice.

“A woman who is one month pregnant said she had a backache. A man complained of a headache lasting three days. Another woman said she has not had her periods since giving birth a year ago. And so on. What was going on inside the heads of the people who came up with this show? What’s its purpose?” asks the Observer.

According to Media Council, a doctor who hears a patient’s symptoms over the phone then goes ahead to prescribe treatment is not in “sound medical practice”.

“It is not a proper consultation. The caller has no time to describe their symptoms in detail. The doc can’t ask questions to understand the caller’s medical history. She cannot
order tests on air or on the page of a newspaper. She cannot give a prescription,” the Observer said.

“In almost all cases, the doc on the basis of scant information guesses what might be the problem and then asks the patient to go to hospital for a complete investigation. So, what is the purpose of such a show?” it queried further.

MCK is of the opinion that sections that give doctors’ advice on radio, TV and newspapers are often “the media overreaching itself”.

“And why would a serious doctor accept to participate in such a show where the only  sensible advice they give a patient is to ask them to go to hospital? Who doesn’t know this already?” the council posed.

Then the Observer writer took a more scathing tone.

“It is okay to put Pastor Kanyari and other charlatans on media platforms. You believe them at your own risk. No problem having a politician like DP William Ruto on TV to tell you everything you need to know about building a new Kenya. Chris Kirubi can write a
column or talk you through how to create a business empire on an empty pocket. You can have Maina Kageni pontificating all morning – and cheered on by eager callers from all over – about successful marriage. But you can’t have a radio programme where sick
people call in describing their symptoms, only to be told to go to hospital for treatment. What’s the point?” it questioned.

You can read the whole bulletin by following this link.

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