BMA calls for ethical purchasing of medical instruments

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Surgical equipment used by the British National Health Service (NHS) could be getting made in "unsafe and unfair" working conditions, so medical chiefs have warned.

Concerns over the working conditions – including child labor – in Pakistan, where many NHS instruments are produced, have been raised by the British Medical Association (BMA).

While, I am sure, we all welcome such call, the truth of the matter is, however, that for many families in countries such as Pakistan, where such instruments are made in small workshops, their children working is a matter of survival.

When the children are “employed” in sweatshops then that is a different situation but when they are working with their parents in order that the family can live and not have to starve then this is another.

Maybe, just maybe, we must look rather at how little those workers and craftsmen making such instruments are paid for the products and for their labor. Then it may just be possible that they no longer have to reply on the children, some as young as six, working alongside them, in order to make ends meet.

It is always so easy to speak about such things and to judge from the comfort of the British clubs but it is a different story out there in Pakistan, or wherever else it may be.

© 2010