In WHAT seems like a betrayal of confidentiality, two nurses working at a named clinic in Kitwe allegedly started spreading information about their colleague’s HIV status after she confided in them. This is in a case in which Monica Chimwala dragged Mwema Mbelwa and Assah Mulemena for defamation of character.
The three work at the same health facility and are neighbours. Chimwala told the court that in June, 2018 Mbelwa went to her house and informed her that some people have been spreading rumours that she is HIV-positive. She said Mbelwa also told her that she had lost a lot of weight and advised her to undergo an HIV test so that she could know her status.
Chimwala testified that when she assured her friend that she already conducted an HIV test which came back negative, Mbelwa insisted that she carries out another test because the results she was given could have been fake. She said after a few days she met Mbelwa and Mulemena, who advised her to do another HIV test because the results she had were fake. “After they insisted, I took another HIV test which came back positive.
So when the two got to know about my status, they started telling other people who know me that I am HIV positive, which made me feel bad,” she said. Chimwala asked the court to discipline the two nurses for not treating the information on her as confidentiality. But Mbelwa denied the allegations and told the court that she only advised Chimwala to undergo an HIV test because she wasn’t looking healthy. Mbelwa said in February this year, Chimwala informed her that her promiscuous husband had infected her with HIV but she was surprised later to hear that she had been sued for defamation.
Mulemena also refuted the allegation and told the court that she was not aware that Chimwala was HIV-positive. She said she only advised her colleague to undergo an X-ray test after she saw her condition deteriorating. Buchi senior local court magistrate Patricia Mulwimba and Alice Mwape partially upheld the claim and ordered Mbelwa to compensate Chimwala with K500 while Mulemena was found not guilty. The three were later reconciled and the court urged them to live in harmony.