Hippocratic Oath: Medical Authorities Clarify Situation

A meeting to this effect took place last Tuesday at the Ministry of Public Health.


Incomprehension recently occurred within the medical core in Cameroon over the oath-taking ceremony by doctors. As a result, the 2016 graduates from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Buea and those from the Faculty of Medicine at the Nkolodom neighbourhood in Yaounde did not undertake the Hippocratic Oath upon graduation as they received their diplomas. This particularly concerned laureates within the medical, pharmaceutical and dental stomatology specialities.

Without over highlighting the importance of the Hippocratic Oath which is a moral code for ethical conduct and practice in medicine, established according to the ideals of Hippocrates, the Ministers of Public Health and Higher Education, Andre Mama Fouda and Jacques Fame Ndongo respectively, on October 4, 2016 co-chaired a meeting to redress the situation which seems to have created tension between the National Order of Medicines, Pharmacists, Dental Surgeons and medical authorities in the country.   

Talking about the Hippocratic Oath, it was noted that the National Order of Medicines, Pharmacists, Dental Surgeons and authorities from the Ministry of Higher Education could not agree on how the Hippocratic Oath should be undertaken by young laureates. It was resolved that they will all come together to hand the diplomas and ensure that laureates undertake the oath. André Mama Fouda said the misunderstanding that occurred between authorities and medical associations have been cleared. “Henceforth, we will have the same ceremony with all medical experts and authorities involved”, Mama Fouda noted. Although the meeting sought ways of changing the oath, it was however realised that there was no need for a change or modification.

The meeting was an opportunity for medical experts to clearly understand the history behind the Hippocratic Oath, its significance, the different manners in which the oath is taken in various countries and the context in which the vow is practiced in Cameroon. The Minister of Public Health said the meeting was also an opportunity for officials of public and private institutions of medicine, heads of medical associations and other experts to examine and establish a common calendar of studies and graduation of the different Faculties of Medicines and the importance to organise the graduation ceremonies before the end of this month since the solemn ceremony to start the new academic year is next month.


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