The government has assured Kenya’s medical regulatory body of continued support to rid the health sector of unprofessional and unethical medical practice.
Speaking during the ongoing three-day workshop of medical councils of Africa, health cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki assured the Kenya Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board (KMPDB) of continued support not only in Kenya but also in the region.
Kariuki said, “My take is that patients, whether poor or rich, able or unable are still patients. They require your services. There is a need for doctors to reciprocate with allegiance to their oath of office by giving their best to patients at all times.”
The three-day event which brings together 22 member countries of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) who are exploring ways on how to improve the health sector regulation.
“Health care regulation is of critical importance to ensuring a quality healthcare system that is timely, accessible and affordable. It is critical that institutions providing healthcare and individual physicians, whether in the private or public sectors, embrace best practice models to ensure better outcomes for patients,” said Kariuki.
Kariuki urged doctors to remain true to their noble calling since the critical role they play in public life cannot be gainsaid.
She stated, “Over the years, we have had serious ethical issues with some medical professionals. The calling of a doctor is like the calling of a priest; the only difference is that doctors must save lives for this world, while priests do so for the world to come. This requires almost total dedication to duty and absolute commitment to the needs of the human race.”
Some of the challenges that Kariuki pointed out include: inadequate personnel; poor distribution of personnel; the rising cost of healthcare services; limited funding and inadequate physical infrastructure; emerging disease patterns – communicable and non-communicable; and increasing commercialization of healthcare.
To achieve enhanced regulation, the government is reviewing the Medical Practitioner and Dentists Act.
The event comes at a time that President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to cement his legacy with Universal Health Coverage of the Big Four Agenda.
“Kenya is also currently creating a system that ensures access to affordable and quality health care for all. We have taken up the global call and launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program, joining South Africa, Morocco, Rwanda and nine other Africa countries currently implementing the noble intervention,” she said.
Already, the piloting phase for UHC is being carried out in four counties even as a full rollout is planned. The counties are Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos.
Daniel Yumbya, the chief executive officer of KMPDB, said the workshop is key for Kenya as it enables the local regulator to benchmark with its peers across the continent.
“The workshop plays a significant role by enabling us to share our experiences and also learn from some of the best practices across the continent in order to make the board more effective,” said Yumbya.