Correspondence received from SAMA - 19 April 2013:

Med-e-mail 19 April 2013 - Volume 08 No 221- SAMA supports HPCSA in its Africa Health Conference stance

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has welcomed this week’s statement by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) distancing themselves from the upcoming Africa Health Exhibition and Conference based on the strong links the organizers have with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The reason is related to the ongoing “inhumane manner” in which the UAE authorities have handled the case of elderly South African paediatric oncologist, Prof Cyril Karabus.

The stance taken by the HPCSA, the association has noted, serves to reiterate the SAMA position to call for a boycott by doctors and all health professionals of not only working in the UAE but also to withdraw from all UAE-linked organizations or businesses.

“We have just returned from a World Medical Association (WMA) Council meeting in Bali where the WMA issued an advisory to all 102 member associations to warn their members of the risks and legal implications of working in the UAE in the light of the Prof Karabus experience,” SAMA chairperson, Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, said when commenting on the HPCSA stance.

“I am pleased that our stance has been strengthened by our regulatory body, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), who also announced this week that they have decided to withdraw from the conference and exhibition – not wanting to ‘be associated with the travesty of justice as in this case’.

“We can only agree with these sentiments,” Dr Grootboom added, expressing the hope that Prof Karabus will be on his way home after the second appeal against the withdrawal of his manslaughter charges is heard in Abu Dhabi at month end.