The government will not protect any health worker or institution involved in medical negligence or malpractice, the Ministry of Health has said.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu apologised to patients who have endured poor medical care, saying it is “something we should not encourage in this country”.
“I want to clarify, we cannot as a government be in a conspiracy to protect a health worker or an institution unnecessarily, we shall stand by the truth. We are here to protect the interests of Kenyans,” said Dr Mailu in Nairobi on Wednesday during the Sixth Health Intergovernmental Consultative Forum.
He was responding to articles published in the Nation on medical negligence in several counties, including the case of a woman who was misdiagnosed with cancer and lost her left breast.
“We are here to protect the rights of Kenyans and not (the) interests of the institutions; if they deliver services, they must play by the rules. We are here to ensure that you are heard, and that cases are investigated as fast as possible and determined,” he added.
He asked doctors to adhere to their professional code of conduct, adding that the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board will continue to inspect institutions — regularly or impromptu — to ensure they have the necessary facilities for the services they say they offer to Kenyans.
“The medical board is mandated to ensure that health workers play by the rules,” he said.
The CS said Kenyans do not report medical negligence “because of fear” and urged any aggrieved person to seek the intervention of the medical board and if not satisfied, take the matter to court.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board says it has received 886 cases of medical misconduct since 1997.
In the 19 years, only one doctor has been struck off the board's register and nearly 430 others are either on suspension or undergoing refresher training after they were found culpable for medical wrongdoing.
Dr Mailu urged patients to familiarise themselves with their rights as contained in the Patient Charter.