Informed Consent for Surgical Care in East Africa

Informed Consent for Surgical Care in East Africa
Richard Wismayer
Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research, 13 December 2021
Open Access
In the developed world one of the pillars of ethical conduct in surgical practise is informed surgical consent. In low income developing countries only a few researchers have explored the practise of surgical consent pre-operatively. During the informed consent process, the patient has a right to make an autonomous and independent decision about his/her surgical treatment after having been provided the necessary information by the surgeon caring for the patient. Patient autonomy and independent decision-making is recommended by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Lisbon. Family and cultural background, education, religion and socioeconomic status may all influence informed consent in surgical practise. In East Africa, few studies have reviewed consent practises among surgeons to document best surgical practise and identify areas that need improvement in the East African setting. This review reports the author’s personal experience of the practise of surgical consent among surgeons in Uganda and reviews the specific challenges faced in East Africa. In Uganda, the administration and documentation of informed consent is still inadequate. Better medical ethics education and proper communication skills training in medical schools needs to be addressed. Refresher courses on medical ethics and communication skills may also be necessary for fully trained surgeons.

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