Irish doctor resigns in dictatorial Bahrain

From the Irish Times:

College of surgeons Bahrain head quits over conference permit

Resignation highlights dilemma faced by RCSI in negotiating island kingdom’s fraught political situation

 Prof Tom Collins: told staff and students  he was stepping down from Bahrain post  in protest over the cancellation of a  conference on “medical ethics and dilemmas in situations of political discord or violence”. Prof Tom Collins: told staff and students he was stepping down from Bahrain post in protest over the cancellation of a conference on “medical ethics and dilemmas in situations of political discord or violence”.

Mary Fitzgerald

Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 06:00

The Bahraini government’s official spokeswoman has accused Prof Tom Collins, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) Bahrain campus, of “utter lies” after Prof Collins said he was resigning because a conference he helped organise on medical ethics failed to get a permit.Prof Collins informed staff and students at the weekend that he was stepping down in protest over the cancellation of the two-day event which was to examine “medical ethics and dilemmas in situations of political discord or violence” and was co-sponsored by medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières. The theme of the conference was sensitive in Bahrain given the continuing fallout from the rounding up of scores of medics in early 2011 as Bahraini security forces tried to snuff out pro-democracy rallies. Three of those arrested had trained at the RCSI in Dublin.The RCSI was criticised for its failure to take a public stand against the security crackdown which, as an international investigative commission later confirmed, involved serious human rights abuses by the Bahraini authorities.In a statement issued in Dublin yesterday, the RCSI said the conference was to “bring together healthcare professionals from all political and religious backgrounds to start a dialogue on the role and the serious professional dilemmas faced by healthcare professionals in areas of conflict around the world”.The RCSI said its Bahrain campus had hoped to facilitate the event. “For [the conference] to be a success, it needed to include a wide range of stakeholders, professional bodies, governmental and non-governmental organisations,” the statement said.“The view locally was that the timing was not right for the planned conference and therefore it has been deferred.”…
In its statement, the RCSI said Prof Collins, who was appointed president of the Bahrain facility in 2011, had been “considering his position” in the tiny Gulf kingdom for some time. “With the delay in the advancement of the conference [he] has decided that now is the right time for him to step down.”

Prof Collins could not be reached for comment last night.

His resignation again highlights the dilemma faced by the RCSI in negotiating Bahrain’s fraught political situation since 2011. In 2003 the college agreed to establish a medical university in the Gulf monarchy. Today the facility has more than 1,000 students. In a presentation to the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee last year, RCSI chief executive Prof Cathal Kelly said the official opening of the Bahrain campus in 2009 marked the “culmination” of the college’s €70 million investment in the country. He rejected accusations that the RCSI was allowing financial considerations trump human rights.

RCSI delegation to visit Bahrain after resignation: here.

As the Bahraini revolution rages on, the world continues to stand on the wrong side of history. For what? Here.

Bahrain: Father-daughter activist duo debilitated by hunger strike as more activists arrested: here.

A large rise in the number of sickle cell disease deaths in Bahrain has prompted concern: here.

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11 thoughts on “Irish doctor resigns in dictatorial Bahrain

  1. In case anyone has forgotten, the Bahrain popular uprising was crushed by the Saudi army, invited in by the Bahrain royal family after a flurry of meetings between them, the Saudis, and US officials, and the central landmark, which had been been Bahrain’s equivalent of Tahrir Square, flattened.


  2. Rights Groups Fears for Hunger Strikers in Bahrain

    MANAMA, Bahrain March 26, 2013 (AP)

    A rights group says two imprisoned pro-democracy activists on hunger strike to protest their detention in crisis-hit Bahrain have started refusing water.

    Freedom House said in a statement Tuesday that it is “deeply concerned” for Zainab al-Khawaja and her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who started a hunger strike March 17 to protest. They went on “dry hunger strike” on Sunday after being denied a family visit in prison, it said.

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said doctors warned Zainab al-Khawaja that she risks “organ failure, cardiac arrest or coma” if she continues.

    Al-Khawaja was sentenced to three months for insulting a public employee related to her calls for the release of her father, eight opposition figures given life sentences. Last year, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja went on a three-month hunger strike.


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  5. Pingback: Stop Irish medical complicity with Bahrain dictatorship | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Alternative medicine in great demand

    By FRANCES LEATE , Posted on » Saturday, January 11, 2014

    INCREASING numbers of people in Bahrain are seeking out alternative medicine like hypnotherapy and Reiki, despite government reluctance to hand out licences, according to practitioners.

    They said more and more patients are turning to alternative and complimentary treatments in the hope of curing a variety of ailments.

    Bahrain legalised such therapies in 2012, but only issued licences to seven alternative therapy centres last year – the majority of which were simply renewals.

    However, individual practitioners not yet recognised by health authorities continue to operate underground.

    “Alternative therapy is on the increase in Bahrain and we have new applications all the time, but first we need to see evidence that they have the professional qualifications to do their job and that they have a business plan,” said National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) chief executive officer Dr Baha Fateha.

    “We want to know they can do their job properly before we grant them a licence.”

    He told the GDN that Bahrain had become more open to the idea of alternative and complimentary therapy, but authorities were still not issuing licences to Reiki practitioners.

    Reiki is a Japanese technique in which practitioners claim to heal patients by placing their hands on their bodies and channelling “unseen energy”.

    “At the moment Reiki is not a therapy we approve, but that may change in the future,” said Dr Fateha.

    He also urged people suffering from health complications to always consult a traditional doctor and not only seek alternative therapies. “We want to encourage alternative medicine, but we need to know what their limitations are – they cannot cure infections for example,” he said.

    “People should always go to licensed practitioners and also see a proper medical professional as well.”

    Reiki practitioner and teacher, Melanie Sarginson, suggested the growth in alternative medicine in Bahrain could be a result of increased community tensions that resulted from unrest in 2011.

    However, she added that people had also become more accepting of new healing methods.

    “Originally, Reiki was a bit of a taboo, but that perception is certainly breaking down a lot now,” she said.

    “I think some people thought it was linked to a cult or religion, but that simply is not the case.

    “It’s a form of healing that can help a great deal with stress, injuries and trauma – and more people are beginning to open up to that idea.

    “I think what is happening is that there is a movement here, particularly since the unrest in 2011, where the government has said that anything that can alleviate or help with stress or trauma from that time should be allowed.

    “That is what some people think is happening anyway, but more generally people are more accepting of new ways of healing and helping to deal with a variety of mental and physical complaints and disorders.

    “No-one is asking too many questions about why it (alternative medicine) was legalised when it was, but it is interesting that as well as Reiki we have seen a lot of other things opening up in Bahrain, such as osteopathy and cranial-sacral therapy.”

    Hypnotherapy is another popular form or alternative treatment and there are currently around eight practising hypnotherapists in Bahrain, some of whom say they are attracting more clients than ever before.

    However, some qualified practitioners are finding it hard to secure permits to continue their business legally.

    One of them is Gill Sinclair, who practised hypnotherapy for five years before putting her business on hold while she seeks a permit to operate legally.

    Until then she treated clients for a variety of complaints including stress, tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, phobias and helped them give up bad habits.


  7. Pingback: Bahraini doctors tortured, solidarity in Ireland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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