As part of the monthly Ayder Enlightenment Forum (AEF), public discussion under the theme ‘Compassion, Respect, and Justice: Foundations for the Global Practice of Medicine’ has been held on May 31, 2019 at Telemedicine Room, CHS, Ayder Campus.

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According to literatures and studies on health caring which is referred by the organizers of the forum, disrespectful and abusive care is an alarming and emerging problem in Ethiopia and globally as well. Thus, People report poor experience and disrespect in health care. In a recently published study from Tigrai (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30286734), women said they suffer more from disrespectful and abusive care than from the labor pain itself. Moreover, it has been said that although providing compassionate and respectful care (CRC) is one of the four transformational agendas of the Ethiopian health transformation plan (HSTP), the system wide response to disrespectful and abusive care doesn’t seem adequate and the problem seem to worsen.

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Therefore, taking this emerging problem into account, Prof. L. Lewis Wall was invited to share the audience his life time wisdom and global experience on compassionate and respectful care. Prof. L. Lewis is worldwide renowned researcher, clinician and mentor. Prof. Wall is the Selina Okin Kim Conner Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is also Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology in the School of Medicine. Prof. Wall has a longstanding interest in the health problems of women in Africa, and has been traveling to various parts of Africa regularly for over 40 years. He founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund in 1995, the oldest not-for-profit public charity in the United States dedicated to providing care for women who have developed obstetric fistulas from prolonged obstructed labor. What is more, while in Mekelle, Prof. Wall and his wife, Helen, helped and found Dignity Period, a not-for profit organization that is partnering with Mekelle University and the Mariam Saba Sanitary Products Factory to produce and distribute menstrual hygiene products to girls in Tigrai and Afar regions to keep them in school.

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During his presentation, Prof. Lewis speaks about Justice as fairness, components of comprehensive emergency obstetric care, the overlap between poverty and maternal mortality. Hence, he said ‘As first priority, surgical practices should empower procedural justice’ and ‘There is power imbalance between sergeants and patients and it requires us to balance power, justice and fidelity’, Prof. Lewis added.

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In his detailed presentation over the issue, Prof. Lewis also addressed about the basic procedural justice in resource and poor environment, concerning our poverty vs our compassion and respect, and regarding compassion vs over medication. In this regard, he said ‘We don’t treat human as human rather we treat human as a case’.