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What to do if you suspect you have been abused

Health By Harold Ayodo

Patients who have suffered any kind of abuse in the hands of a doctor or hospital can seek for recourse at the Kenya medical practitioners and dentists board (KMPDB).

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"We are tasked with among other things watching over the well being of Kenyans who visit all health facilities in the country as well as practitioners licensed to conduct work here," says Daniel Yumbya, CEO of the board.

Negligence, according to Harold Ayodo, a Nairobi based advocate, could be anything that goes against stipulated professional conduct. It may also include cases such as fondling and where a doctor is suspected of making suggestive passes at a patient as at the time of treatment.

"The law requires Kenyans to report such cases to the medical board. They may also go to a court of law directly. However, the court could direct the complainant back to the board. Through a tribunal, the board determines cases but if one is not satisfied with ruling they can proceed to the High Court which would then take up the matter," says Harold.

The medical board has been allowed powers to deregister a member found of gross malpractice. "We may also order for re-education of an individual as well as closure of a health facility that is deemed incapable of offering quality services to the population," says Yumbya.

However, the board is not allowed to order for compensation – whether monetary or of any kind.

"We are allowed to arbitrate between the complainant and the accused and reach an amicable solution; agreed upon by both parties," says yumbya, "but if one insists on compensation then they can seek the services of a court of law. The board, at that point, will hand over all its findings to the said court."

Kenyans can find out about doctors allowed to practice in Kenya through the board's website. If a doctor who has been handling you does not appear in the list, which is provided for online, then you have the right to stop seeking their services.

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If you are handled by a quack (who is not registered with the medical board) it may be difficult to report them to the board, according to Harold.

"A quack can only be reported at the police. He can't stand before a board that he is not a member," offers the advocate. Hence, preventing a quack in his tracks may be better than having to report them for a crime already committed.

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