News24

Unions speak out on Semenya

2009-09-14 16:06

Johannesburg - Two doctors' and nurses' unions spoke out on Monday against the leaking of private medical information relating to athlete Caster Semenya.

"These actions will undoubtedly have life-changing consequences for her and possibly serious effects on her physical and mental health," said SA Medical Association (Sama) chairperson Prof Denise White in a joint statement with the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa).

"We appeal to government to provide Ms Semenya with the essential professional care and protection to support her through this situation.

"We are concerned by the leakage of Semenya's confidential health information and call on all health professionals to go back to basics, in particular those of protecting and practising health professional-patient confidentiality," Denosa general secretary Thembeka Gwagwa wrote in the statement.

It also pledged support to the Semenya family as the 800m gold medallist weathered a storm over her gender.

Oath of confidentiality

Denosa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo said the comment was not directed at South African health professionals in particular, as the leaks appeared to have begun in Australia, but wanted to emphasise that medical professionals took an oath of confidentiality when they joined the profession.

Meanwhile, the government has written to the United Nations to investigate whether Semenya was treated in line with its protocols on gender and equality, an earlier statement read.

In the letter to the UN's Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya argues there has been a blatant disregard for Semenya's human dignity.