EDITORIAL: Inspections of private health facilities long overdue

The Ministry of Health, on Monday, announced it will start conducting periodic inspection of private health facilities to enhance healthcare service delivery.

The Ministry of Health, on Monday, announced it will start conducting periodic inspection of private health facilities to enhance healthcare service delivery.

According to ministry officials, quarterly inspections will be carried out in private facilities, focusing mainly on areas like clinical services, information management systems, staff welfare and physical infrastructure. Only public hospitals had hitherto been inspected by the ministry.

 This is a big step toward top-notch health service provision. Issues of low staff morale that lead to mistreatment of patients abound. Some private practitioners also still operate in dark, ‘sickly’ facilities that endanger patients’ lives. Hopefully, the inspection will help address such challenges to significantly improve health service provision by privately-owned hospitals.

There are also instances where patients have to wait for hours to be attended to or get medical checkup results of simple ailments. This problem is endemic in both public and private hospitals, and should be addressed as it discourages people from carrying out period checkups, which exposes them to life-threatening sicknesses.

So, as indicated by Health ministry officials, periodic inspections should mark a new dawn for the sectors, especially as there are still some health workers who leave patients unattended to take a lunch break. The ministry also needs to strengthen inspection in government hospitals because patients are still being mistreated in these facilities, too.

To ensure the inspection of health facilities bears fruit, the Ministry of Health should sensitise health service providers, as well as educate citizens/patients on their rights, especially to quality healthcare.

It is important that any health worker or facility that mistreats patients is penalised as a deterrent. Otherwise, all sector stakeholders and Rwandans must play their role to make it work.

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