Customer care is the first dosage, doctors’ boss says

The president of Rwanda Medical and Dental Council, Dr Emile Rwamasirabo, has urged practitioners to cultivate the culture of good communication with their patients, saying ‘oral’ medicine is the first way of treatment.
A doctor examines a patient in a Kigali hospital recently.   The New Times/  File.
A doctor examines a patient in a Kigali hospital recently. The New Times/ File.

The president of Rwanda Medical and Dental Council, Dr Emile Rwamasirabo, has urged practitioners to cultivate the culture of good communication with their patients, saying ‘oral’ medicine is the first way of treatment.

Medical practitioners have been accused of poor communication with their patients, which often affects the patient’s recovery process.

But at a meeting in Kigali City Hall, yesterday, Dr Rwamasirabo said medical practitioners should have enough and clear communication line with both the patient and their medical assistant, by giving enough details about the status of the patient.

“The main problem in hospitals is poor communication. We need to learn to communicate because it is the first step of treatment as it helps a patient relax,” Dr Rwamasirabo said.

“If a patient is well-talked to about what they are suffering from and how they can be treated, that talking becomes a part of the ‘first dosage,’” he added.

He said that they plan to enhance this by ensuring a patient has a written document of the interaction they had with the doctor who diagnosed them.

Forms introduced

Both the patient and the doctor will sign on the document called ‘education form’, according to Dr Rwamasirabo.

Dr Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, the in-charge of clinical services in the Ministry of Health, called upon patients to report cases of malpractice in hospitals to either the ministry or the council to hold the concerned medics accountable.

The officials also said a patient has a right to decide about any operation to use before the procedure.

“We want to dismantle the wall between patients and doctors; doctors should have knowledge, skill and the right attitude,” said Dr Eugene Ngoga, a member of the council.

The meeting also discussed the issue of lack of specialists and general practitioners.

According to Ngirabega, the doctor to patient ratio is 1:16,000, yet World Health Organisation recomends a doctor for 1,000 patients.

 But officials say that much is being done to tackle the issue where every year over 80 medical practitioners equipped with special skills either in the country or overseas.

Rwanda medical and dental council started in 2001 and accredited in 2003; it has over 650 members.

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