Male doctors in Bahrain face clamp
Manama, November 5, 2008
Male doctors could soon be banned from working in all maternity wards in Bahrain, if parliament has its way.
MPs said at their weekly session on Tuesday many women were complaining that they were forced to reveal their 'sensitive parts' to male doctors, which they say was making them feel uncomfortable, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
Parliament unanimously voted in favour of the proposal, despite assurances by Health Ministry officials that they were already taking the issue into consideration.
Health Ministry assistant under-secretary for hospital affairs Dr Abdulhai Al Awadhi said that the ministry was already giving patients the choice between male and female consultants and doctors.
'The patient has the right to choose and we don't force any doctor or consultant on any patient,' he said.
'The number of male doctors and consultants is decreasing and out of 11 consultants, only four are males, while more than 90 per cent of our [maternity] doctors are females.
'We have recently asked six male doctors to carry out maternity services, because many female staff members are taking the two-hour breastfeeding time-off from 9am to 11am, which is our peak time.'
Dr Al Awadhi said that most consultants and doctors in Saudi Arabia and Iran were males. 'There is no such obligation in those countries,' he said.
MP Sayed Maki Al Wedaie said that Islam bans males and females touching 'sensitive body parts' of members of the same sex or other sex, unless it is an emergency.
Al Wedaie, who is parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman, said that maternity was not an emergency and considered as a normal case.
'Instead of taking time off from 9am to 11am, those female doctors and consultants should take other timings, when operations are not at their peak.' - TradeArabia News Service