Opinion: Conscience and Law

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Yesterday, the Egyptian Minister of Health complained to parliament about a number of hospital workers in the country, stating that “we have a problem of conscience” in the health sector.

A Member of Parliament responded, “Your honor says that there is a ‘problem of conscience’ in Egypt, and I am telling your honor that we all have no conscience. So it would be better that your honor enforce the law, instead of [focusing on] conscience.”

We note that words of blame by ministers, governors and their deputies have recently increased, attempting to justify disasters without looking for their origins, or their solutions.

The incident of the three patients who died, and 33 who were injured (according to the Attorney-General) while undergoing dialysis at Deyerb Negm Hospital, deserves a stop, think and analyze.

The crisis of conscience that opened the minister’s speech is one that many sectors in the country and society suffer from.

Such issues must be addressed by enforcing the rule of law, and applying the system of reward and punishment; whoever commits an error, must be held accountable. This is the standard for all societies wanting renaissance and development, rather than societies that are satisfied with the “minimum” at all levels of health, environmental, economic, and social matters.

The disaster of Deyerb Negm may repeat in other sectors, unless laws are implemented to deter that state of indifference and artlessness that unfortunately comes with work in large sectors. These laws will remain crucial, until we can raise a new generation under an educational system that highlights the importance of accuracy, proficiency, and integrity in one’s work.

Yes, the minister promised to hold those responsible accountable. Yes, she proclaimed that she is responsible for the health of Egyptians, and promised everyone – parliament and citizens – that she will do her best to reform the system.

But if the situation continues as it is – a catastrophe, then blame, and then a promise of reform – then hope is still far away.

The chairman of the emergency meeting decided to delete the phrase “we all have no conscience” from the records.


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