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What’s in a Female Doctor’s last name?

DR BOIMA
HEALTH ISSUES

It is not unusual for female doctors who are married to continue using their maiden names in their profession but this has generated a lot of curiosities and controversy over the years.

These women are usually faced with some negative judgment too especially from the community.  The study of 75 women in the graduating class of 2017 at Harvard Medical School, conducted by Humphries and published in the Harvard Medical School Review in January 2015, found that 65% of single women intend to keep their maiden names, and 63% of the married women had already done so. “Most felt that marrying later in medical training would make it more likely for them to hold on to their maiden names,” Humphries wrote.

According to our Tswana culture, it is expected that once a woman marries, she changes her surname to that of her husband’s.  In fact, most people think that the law obliges a woman to adopt her husband’s name upon marriage.  This is not true. Legally it is only the woman’s civil status that changes after marriage, not necessarily her name. The Civil and national registration guidelines in most countries including Botswana does not mandate a woman to change to her husband’s surname after marriage. In fact most civil codes give the woman a number of options on how to use her name and her husband’s after she marries (NB: – this applies to all women not just doctors);

Option 1 – she may use her maiden’s first name and surname and add her husband’s surname
e.g.  Dr Antoinette Boima-Smith
Option 2 – she may use her maiden’s first name and her husband’s surname
e.g. Dr Antoinette Smith
Option 3 – She may use her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”
e.g. Mrs Tom Smith
 Option 4 – Not changing her maiden name entirely
e.g. Dr Antoinette Boima

Given the options above, most female doctors still opt to keep their maiden names despite the unfair judgement they expose themselves to. They have a right to make their own choices after all. So what is in a female doctor’s last name? A lot.
Professional reasons – As far as the medical profession is concerned, it is a delicate one that entails a lot of sensitive issues, governed by strict medical ethics and laws like confidentialities, consents, beneficence, non-maleficence etc.

that only a person who has undergone the training can be able to handle. So identity of a doctor remains a big issue in the medical fraternity. When a physician changes her last name, she goes through an arduous, complex, and expensive process of changing her professional documentation like medical licences, board certifications and other professional memberships.

She may need to again pass through police checks and other security clearances to render her safe to practice (under the new name).  Now imagine this; if she was to divorce, and have to undergo the same extensive process to reclaim her original surname. The changing of last names has left many female doctors not only with professional implications but emotional drag.

Personal Brand – For most doctors, it may be hard to use their husband’s surname immediately after the wedding since patients have known them with their maiden name before.  So, some will keep their maiden names and others with choose to hyphenate and add a husband’s name, so that their patients would know that they are still the same doctor they went to before, and that they only married. It takes time for patients and colleagues to adjust to her name change.

She loses “name recognition,” albeit often temporarily. Keeping the identity and the brand is very important for professional progression too. Most women in medicine are published authors, and their publications may be under different surnames, rendering their work to not receive the recognition it merits. For couples in which both partners are physicians, sharing a last name can even be problematic especially when one of them gets paged for medical service. Like one doctor who shares a last name with her doctor husband said; “it seemed that it would be confusing if someone called in the middle of the night and wanted to speak to Dr. Robbins, and we would have to ask ‘which Dr. Robbins?”

Family reasons – Commonly, names reflect one’s identity. Some names are a bridge to past generations and carry information about a person’s unique history and heritage. Some people would want to keep their last names solely for that reason and nothing to do with the medical profession. Medicine has been classified as the toughest and most expensive course by the Guinness Book of World Record, so it is not surprising that some female physicians would want to keep their surnames out of loyalty and respect for their supportive families who, in most cases, paid for their medical education.

Despite all the fuss about a female doctor’s last name, some women are proud to take their husbands’ names. They find it easier to be perceived as “one unit” with their husband. Some are facing prejudice that lessened by adopting the husband’s last name. As one doctor said, “I do not want the hospital to think that I am a single mother with a baby daddy.” Some women do not feel the need or desire to honour their family surnames for different reasons.

There are a myriad of a reasons a female doctor may choose to change or keep her last name. Whatever her reasons, they are valid and important to her. No one should be questioning her family loyalty or her professional ambition. We should respect her the way we respect her male counterparts. She should have the freedom to make a name choice without coercion or fear of judgment. It is time to stop pressuring and judging women for the decisions they make about their names and their lives. A supportive and understanding spouse is what matters in whatever the decision the woman makes regarding her name!

For comments or questions please email agboima@yahoo.com

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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