MOH cracks down on forgery
The vetting exercise by the National Council of Nurses and Midwives to ascertain whether nurses seeking employment in Rwanda posses genuine qualifications discovered that thirty had forged their academic transcripts.
The verification exercise has been going on since 2008. Information from Ministry of Health indicates that the Nursing Council has close to 11,000 files of nurses being verified and slightly over 3,000 are already complete
Twenty two nurses had claimed to have had their education in Uganda while eight lied that they studied in Tanzania. However, on verification by the council, it turned out that the said nurses were trying to dupe the ministry.
The council’s registrar, Julie Kimonyo, confirmed the development when contacted on Thursday this week. She said the process is still going on. Kimonyo revealed that the forgery was discovered through collaboration with their counterparts in Uganda and Tanzania.
“We have 132 applications from Uganda since 2011 and 52 from Tanzania since 2008,” Kimonyo disclosed.
Kimonyo said the national council intends to register all professional practitioners.
Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health explained that there are tight mechanisms in place to vet employees’ academic papers.
“Recall that this process of verifying is done for Nurses who are not trained in Rwanda’s accredited Nursing schools---it’s done for Nurses seeking employment here but trained elsewhere out of Rwanda,” Binagwaho said in an email to The Sunday Times.
She added: “There are systematic mechanisms of verifying the qualifications of Nurses that we employ in our health facilities. One channel is through the Nursing Council whose job is to regulate the industry partly by scrutinizing the academic papers and approving those duly qualified.”
According to the ministry, nurses trained from “our accredited schools do not have to be scrutinized or verified since these are schools accredited by High Council of education and they seek employment directly in health facilities.”
Currently, the Ministry of Health funds the Nursing Council to a tune of Rwf 50Million annually. However, the ministry says it’s important that the Council also begins soliciting contributions from their members, just like the Medical Council does.
Kimonyo disclosed that there are cases where some practitioners from other countries sell their academic transcript certificates to people seeking employment in Rwanda.
“This is a very complicated issue to deal with. It is hard to verify,” Kimonyo said. She added that some nurses started to practice before their papers were verified.
“Some of them started before the inception of our council,” she disclosed, adding “most of the forgeries could be rampant in the private health sector.”
According to Kimonyo, the council lacks enough capacity to thoroughly verify qualifications of all practicing nurses in the country.
“We are only four staff members and we can hardly carry out thorough investigations to vet all practicing nurses in the country,” she noted.
The council was set up in 2008, and officially launched by the Ministry of Health in 2009 to regulate the nursing and midwifery profession.
Last year, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour wrote to all heads of government institutions directing them to send employees’ academic documents for verification to ascertain their accreditation forms to confirm that they indeed studied in the said institutions.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw