In the course of interviewing and screening several candidates for the position of domestic helper in my home, we requested medical test results for some basic communicable medical conditions from the candidates. These tests are usually carried out at a reputable private hospital not far from our home.
One candidate came back with a test result that had hepatitis B as positive. As is routine, we approached the doctor, with the candidate, for a proper interpretation of the results. We were told her sample showed a strong strain of hepatitis B that was active and easily communicable. On interviewing the young lady further she told us she had been suffering some of the symptoms for some time now. This was further confirmed by the doctor after a brief examination. He told us about her discoloured skin, etc.
We decided we could not hire her as a domestic helper in this present condition, as working in the kitchen and sharing utensils, etc., might expose our household to this illness. We communicated our decision, counselled her and gave her enough money to visit the general hospital in her neighbourhood, carry out a repeat test, commence treatment, buy drugs and get by for a while.
Visibly disappointed, she thanked us and left for home. She sent my wife the text message, in the screenshot below, a day later.
The summary of it is that she thanked us for the money and kindness and also rejected the notion that she was ill. By faith, He that is in her is greater than whatever sickness the devil has thrown her way. Well, true.
However, we sensed some form of denial and decided to call her. We observed she was still adamant on her stand that the test results (and even symptoms) did not really prove she was ill, ascribing it to the enemy trying to prevent her from getting a job and things along those lines.
We managed to counsel her by giving several examples and that even pastors still went to hospitals for check ups, treatment, surgeries and other medical interventions. We told her it was not necessarily a judgement on her faith and that the Christian faith recognizes the position of physicians in the society, etc. In the end, she agreed to visit the local general hospital for another test and consultation, etc. On a subsequent call she confirmed she had commenced consultations at the general hospital in. We shall be calling her later to get an update.
Epilogue – February 25, 2016
It’s now been about three weeks since our encounter with “Mercy” (the meaning of her name in English). We hired one of the candidates from the pack about a week ago. We tried calling Mercy without any success. Yesterday, my wife enquired about her well being from the lady who referred her. She said she believed that the prophetess at Mercy’s Church told her to disregard the medical tests as false witness from the devil. She has since been hired by a local eatery.
Be rest assured that I’ll follow up on the location and engage in the best interest of Mercy and the public and within the bounds of empathy and ethical consideration. I’ll do an update post on it in future. .
But, what laws/regulations do we have in place for public or municipal health and how are they enforced? Also, If a private citizen can carry out this basic rigour as a pre-requisite for employing domestic help, how come some public eateries don’t do same? What if she’s actually working for a mama-put? Do these ones even fall under these regulations, or are our civil servants more interested in inspecting the shiny restaurants and eateries? As a citizen, can you ask to see the health certificates of the staff of the next place you go to eat? Do you even know your local government public health office? What is your role?