Dismissed Swine flu doctor reinstated

KIGALI - A medical doctor who was controversially dismissed from King Faisal Hospital for alleged neglect of his duties over the handling of the first Swine Flu case, has been reinstated, The New Times can exclusively reveal.

KIGALI - A medical doctor who was controversially dismissed from King Faisal Hospital for alleged neglect of his duties over the handling of the first Swine Flu case, has been reinstated, The New Times can exclusively reveal.

The reinstatement of Dr. Stevenson Musiime who heads the Paediatric department at King Faisal, whose sacking on the 14th of October caused unrest among the medical staff at the hospital, is said to have been effected by the Hospital’s Board meeting yesterday.

The development was confirmed by Dr. Juliet Mbabazi, the Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in an interview with The New Times yesterday.

“He is back to work. We realised there was a misunderstanding. The Board of Directors, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders sat and revised the decision to dismiss him.” Mbabazi said.

Mbabazi insisted that the decision to recall Dr. Musiime, an influential figure at KFH with credible medical expertise was made entirely by the Hospital Management but according to reliable sources, his reinstatement was a result of intervention by the Executive.

On the 17th of October, The New Times exclusively revealed how upset Medical personnel at KFH were threatening to go on a sit-in strike over the unfair dismissal of Musiime and even wrote a letter to the Ministry of Health which was copied to the President and Prime Minister asking for their intervention.    

Musiime was dismissed on October 14 for the alleged “neglect of his duties and failure to professionally execute his obligations in his capacity as the head of the paediatric department”.

According to the dismissal letter seen by The New Times, the reason behind the sacking was allegedly failure by his staff to diagnose Influenza A or H1N1 on a child who had respiratory symptoms, allowing that child to pass on the virus to other people.

The decision did not go down well with the hospital’s Joint Clinical Services Executive Committee (JCSEC), consequently petitioning the Ministry of Health.

The JCSEC argued that Musiime’s sacking was ‘unfair’ as the medics ‘did all they could to treat the victim’ despite them not being aware of the possibility of the infection of the minor being related to H1N1.

The medical workers then petitioned high level government officials and gave the hospital management up to Monday 19th to explain the unfair dismissal or they down their tools.

True to their word, the medics began their sit-in strike Monday, sending panic waves across the biggest referral hospital in the country currently dealing with Swine Flu cases. An emergency BOD meeting was then summoned which effectively recalled Dr. Musiime.

In what she termed as ‘an oversight’ by the hospital management, Dr. Mbabazi said that the sacking of Musiime could not be justified as he did not in anyway neglect his duties as he wasn’t the person handling the case individually, hence his reinstatement.

Sources indicate that Dr. Musiime did not meet the H1N1 victim until Thursday 9th yet the child was admitted two days ealier, therefore could not be answerable for poor handling of the case.

Musiime’s reinstatement comes as a relief as it was feared his absence would derail the fight against the fast spreading contagious flu as well as many other projects in the paediatric department under his supervision.

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