Kathmandu, February 15
Hundreds of youths suffering from sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis in the country are being deprived of foreign employment opportunities every year.
Due to lack of awareness about safe sex and use of condom, many youths are suffering from syphilis. “Nearly 60 persons between the ages of 18 and 24 have been diagnosed with syphilis in the last five months,” said Chief Consultant of Tropical Medicine at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital Dr Anup Bastola. The youths diagnosed with syphilis had come to the hospital for medical tests in order to apply for foreign employment.
Department of Foreign Employment has authorised Sukraraj Tropical Infectious Disease Hospital for the medical test of the people who applied for foreign employment.
People diagnosed with syphilis are not considered eligible for foreign employment even though the disease can be treated within a few weeks. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics, but antibodies of syphilis remain in the blood of the patients for a lifetime due to which people, who once suffered from this disease, cannot pass the medical test conducted for foreign employment,” he added.
Speaking with The Himalayan Times, Dr Bastola said that the hospital had already informed the Department of Foreign Employment that syphilis did not get transmitted from a person who had already been treated for syphilis, but due to some standards set by foreign nations, youths are not given work permit in many countries.
Director General of DoFE Dilip Kumar Chapagain said different countries had different criteria for medical tests. “We cannot do anything in this regard, though many sexually transmitted diseases are curable. Many countries reject people who suffer from sexually transmitted diseases,” he added. In Gulf countries, medical tests such as blood test, chest X-ray, tuberculosis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDs, syphilis, pregnancy test and leprosy are compulsory.
According to the Dubai Health Authority, syphilis test is mandatory for domestic help, babysitters, workers at nurseries, barber shops, kindergartens, coffee shops, health clubs, food supply centres, restaurants and other food outlets.
“Though doctors in Dubai also clearly know that syphilis is completely curable, they don’t provide work permit to those who suffer from syphilis,” said Dr Anup.
A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.