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Health experts sign deal to push for quality, accountable services

 Paediatricians perform surgery on a child at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital during a surgical camp on October 26, 2022. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

Health professionals have pledged to champion patients' rights and improve the quality healthcare. Health service providers will oversee delivery of better patient care standards, and ensure integrity and accountability.

This came after the signing of a collective agreement by 17 umbrella institutions representing more than 100,000 healthcare professionals including physicians, pharmacists, community health workers, dentists, hospital owners, nurses, public health officials and pathologists.

Known as the Kenya Consensus Framework for Multi-Stakeholder Ethical Collaboration in Health Sectors, the agreement is a milestone in the practice as various professionals have agreed to be accountable to each other.

Dr Winnie Ng'ang'a, the chairperson of the Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI), said the signing of the agreement will guarantee best global practice.

"In this new agreement, we have all committed to checking each other's ethical practice by adopting a value-based code of conduct as opposed to a rules-based code as has previously been the case," said Dr Ng'ang'a.

Pharmacy and Poisons Board Director for Corporate Affairs Jacinta Wasika praised the move, saying it will improve patient care, and have providers take full responsibility for healthcare.

"As a regulator, we support this new development and are affirming our commitment to playing our role in ensuring that patient safety remains at the very heart of every decision and activity within the medical field in Kenya," said Dr Wasika.

Entities at the forefront of advocating for ethical collaboration include the Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry, Kenya Medical Association, Kenya Medical Association, Kenya Healthcare Federation, Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, and Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya.

Andrew Blasi, an expert with the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said strict adherence to the ethics and integrity codes of practice is at the core of patient-centred care.

"Ethics and integrity are at the core of the trust capital generator that is vital to patients having confidence in their care, to healthcare professionals, governments and regulators," said Blasi.

There have been concerns over lack of quality services in many public hospitals, with many operating without drugs and essential medical supplies.

There have also been cases of staff shortage, with many hospitals unable to attract and retain qualified personnel.

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