Medical liability insurance law for January, says Health minister

Ministerial orders on medical liability insurance will be in place by January, the Minister for Health, Dr. Diane, Gashumba has said.
Doctors perform surgery at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe. File.
Doctors perform surgery at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe. File.

Ministerial orders on medical liability insurance will be in place by January, the Minister for Health, Dr. Diane, Gashumba has said.

The minister was addressing the Senate Thursday to answer queries on what the legislators termed as “unjustified delays” in the implementation of the law.

Medical liability insurance law was passed and published in the Official Gazette five years ago but it has not been implemented, something senators said was not justifiable as the law should be operational to protect the interest of patients.

The legislation seeks to ensure that health workers, as well as patients, are insured against any health risk while in hospital.

The minister admitted that the law has delayed but stressed there was nobody to blame as the law is very complex and needed more consultations with various government institutions.

There are two pending ministerial orders that include the establishment of the premiums health facilities will be paying and other conditions in which the law will be implemented.

“The law is very important but should be well understood by both medical professionals and patients. We first engaged with health institutions, practitioners and insurance companies for each to understand the importance of their role in implementation of the law,” she said.

She added that the ministry also carried out joint studies with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Rwanda Development Board to see if health institutions that will be stipulated in the ministerial order.

“The law was passed but we had to be vigilant, the law has two parts and the part of patient rights has been implemented, patients know their rights to treatment, to information on their health status and the right to choose the doctor to treat them,” she noted, adding that the rest of the law will be implemented in the near future.

“Workers have a role to play but hospitals will also play their role. The problem is that hospitals don’t have the same capacity and people do not understand it the same way. We are going to make sure that the orders are finalised and sent to the Rwanda Law Reform Commission and we are optimistic we will have started implementation of the law next year by January”.

However, senators still expressed disappointment over the delays in implementation of the law which was passed and published in the Official Gazette five years ago.

Senator Gallican Niyongana said the concerned ministries were breaching the law as they have failed to implement the law despite the Senate having summoned the officials on several occasions.

“Officials have been giving us deadlines since the law was passed. In 2014, we were promised the same but nothing has happened. This is breaching the law and it should be implemented immediately,” he said

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