OVER 30 medical practitioners in the country are reprimanded annually over varying cases of professional malpractices, according to the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council. Eighty per cent of the reported cases are said to be related to expecting women during delivery.
With the current transformation in the health sector, such cases should not be arising. They are against medical ethics and threaten to reverse the vast achievements in the sector.
The government inherited a broken health sector after the 1994 Genocide. But over the years the health sector has been transformed into one of the most vibrant sectors. Such cases put a dent on the sector and if not nipped in the bud, they will reverse the gains so far registered in the health sector. Over the years, Rwanda’s health sector has changed for the better that the country is a role model in public health provision. About 98 per cent of all Rwandans have health insurance.
Since 2000, maternal mortality has fallen by 60 per cent and the probability that a child would die by age 5 has dropped by 70 per cent.
But public confidence is not fully restored if we are to go by patient’s complaints which have been reported in the media against health workers.
Health workers should refrain from unethical practices like treating diseases they are not qualified to handle. They should follow the medical ethics to the dot. They should also respect patients’ rights to privacy.
The Medical and Dental Council which is mandated to monitor and follow up conduct of health workers should be adequately facilitated to do its work so as to ensure quality service.
Like it is done in many developed countries, measures should be put in place to guarantee the council’s independence and accountability to the public.
Also, there is a need to engage the public through existing mechanisms to make it hard for unethical medical practice to continue.