Imagine taking your son to the doctor thinking they will perform a safe, non-fatal circumcision only for it to cause them severe complications and even possibly end their life.
Imagine walking into a pharmacy or clinic with an erectile dysfunction problem and the pharmacist or doctor prescribes you pills to help that could end up being fatal.
These are stories we have all heard and one would think it would make up understand the severity of leaving our reproductive and sexual health in the hands of just anybody.
Sexual and reproductive problems vary. There are sexual dysfunctions, psychological sex problems and discordance in sex desires with your partner. However, there is little or no knowledge about sex or sensual issues taught in our society, which is mostly conservative.
Whatever the problem it is, seeking solutions from qualified professionals is the right way to go. The problem and risks arise when we seek help from people who lack the proper training.
Professor Joachim Osur, a sexual medicine practitioner says the range of unqualified people varies. He is part of The International Society of Sexual Medicine, a global society for sexual medicine that has professionals from all over the world.
“When we talk about unqualified people, it could even be a doctor whose sexual and reproductive health is not their area of expertise. It could be a pharmacist selling drugs even though they are not qualified to treat these problems. They get people asking for the drugs and they sell them without examining or understanding the problem. It could even be someone on the streets with a megaphone announcing they have pills to help with sexual dysfunctions. There is no limit to the danger of unqualified people and what they are doing,” Joachim explains.
- Being a parent of a sleepwalking child is terrifying
- Sex education begins at home
- If you cannot take care of children, don't sire them
- Tough love: When does a parent say enough is enough?
“I am worried because we are dealing with human lives; people have died from the use of medicine not prescribed by a professional so we should not take it lightly. It is very important to have proper professional guidelines and code of conduct. There should be institutional regulations guiding the practice,” Joachim says.
Joachim says many quacks have joined the profession thus posing a worrying trend.
“We know that at any one given time over a third of the population is having something worrying them when it comes to sexuality, which needs a professional to solve. If we are thinking of 50 million Kenyans, at any one given time a third of that are worried about their sexuality. They need a professional to treat them and yet we do not have qualified professionals to help them,” Joachim observes.
“If I’m a doctor claiming to treat sex problems, you can easily get my registration as a doctor. There is nothing wrong with asking the person treating you what they are qualified in. If they actually are, they will not feel offended. You have a right to know,” the doctor advices.
Having more conversations about the roles sectors like religion, the health ministry, medicine or culture play to make people sexually healthy is very important, according to the doctor.
“The laws that we see around on things like sexual orientation and others help nobody, they only make the problems worse. Dealing with this stigma requires boldness and self-confidence to be able to talk about some of these things.”
There has been a lack of sexual problems data mainly because the books the doctors use for routine data collection they have in their facilities lack the data; nobody collects it. The government and other agencies do not have information they can use for planning services, that is how bad it is. This makes us assume that these problems exist or we just do not want to know they exist.
Read more on doctors of desire here.