When a job opportunity is advertised a medical certificate is usually among the requirements needed; this is often the same when one applies to an institute of higher learning. A medical certificate is a document completed by a medical doctor certifying that the bearer has undergone a thorough physical and health exam and he/she is allowed to carry out duties assigned to him/her, without being harmful to others.
From this definition, I do understand the purpose of it in case of special jobs like being an astronaut, a pilot, a Special Forces member and a professional football player.
But does someone need it when he’s going for further studies or when he’s applying for most of the jobs that are on the market? By requesting this document, institutions are opposing the spirit embodied in various human rights declarations and our own Constitution, which explicitly prohibit discrimination based on physical disabilities among other things.
Now also regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS and its stigma, it’s unlawful to discriminate against someone because he/she’s HIV positive. Other infectious diseases, thanks to antibiotics, are now treatable.
If the purpose of the medical certificate is not to discriminate but to have an initial assessment of physical disabilities of prospect employees before recruitment that will help in evaluating the disability that may occur due to the job applied for, then the medical certificate we are using are wrongly designed.
These documents are not nuanced; to them it’s either black or white (fit or unfit) with no between like fit (or unfit) with this degree of physical disability or with this underlying health illness that nonetheless won’t (or will) prevent the bearer to fulfil correctly his duties.
So why are we still asked to present medical certificates that cost money, expire after three months and yet in essence are discriminatory?
Dr. Hirwa Kagabo