The Health Minister, Dr. Richard Sezibera, yesterday urged Rwandans to ensure that their full rights to proper medical care are observed at all health centres country-wide.
While addressing members of the press at King Faisal Hospital, Kacyiru, Sezibera gave details of the charter of patient rights and responsibilities that was passed recently by government.
He however stressed that if not respected, strong administrative measures will be imposed on health workers either by government or by the various organs.
“Patients have a right to care, privacy, information, choices which include decision-making and a second opinion.
“They also have a right to respect while at the facility and can complain if services delivered are not up to standard. It is therefore up to everyone to promote their health,” he said.
The charter also states that “all Rwandans, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, cultural belief or handicap, are equally entitled to receive health services to promote and maintain good health.”
Sezibera also thanked the management King Faisal Hospital for piloting this cause by pinning up various notices in the hospital that sensitise their patients about this charter.
He however emphasised that patients must give correct information during consultation sessions so that proper treatment administered for the right medical problem.
“Lying about any medical condition is a problem as it breeds terrible effects so patients should be responsible enough to avoid this,” he added.
In relation to this charter, Dr. Innocent Nyaruhirira, the Executive Chairman of King Faisal Hospital, attested that the hospital health workers are well aware of these rights.
In this regard, an effective customer care unit has been instituted to ensure that every patient is given the best medical attention in relation to this charter.
“We know that the new charter will greatly increase the quality of healthcare in this country, and so far, our patients are able to forward any complaints to our customer care unit. We then follow them up systematically so that medical care is given to all,” Nyaruhirira added.
He said that although the ratio of doctor-to-patient is currently 1:30,000, the government is doing all it can to mobilise all healthcare experts to respect these rights, including publicising it through all forms of media and availing it at the community and facility level.
It is also displayed prominently on posters in all three official languages and small booklets will soon be distributed in Kinyarwanda so that it is properly understood by all citizens.
This charter is in line with Rwanda’s national quality policy for health care and as it outlines the patient’s responsibilities, it also addresses the rights of the provider appropriately.