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Get to the bottom of rot in medical field

Tuesday January 28 2020

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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Quite often, the public raises complaints about devious practices in medical facilities, but the issues are never taken seriously.

Cost of medical care has emerged as the single-biggest burden to families and communities.

Perhaps, only occasionally, when the noise gets too much, does the Health ministry and regulators come out to respond, but even so, in a muted manner.

Several cases of professional medical negligence are reported but quickly hushed up without conclusive resolution.

Exploitation and overcharging of patients are common. Yet the blundering medics and their institutions never get punished.

But if evidence was ever required, there is ample material now to demonstrate the bad and the ugly in the medical field.

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And there is no distinction; private, public and faith-based facilities are all complicit in acts of extortion, blackmail and manipulation.

PATIENTS FLEECED

This week, the Nation has published a series of articles that give a blow-by-blow account of deceitful practices in hospitals; highlighting how doctors, nurses, clinical officers and managers of medical facilities exploit patients and their relatives.

Unsuspecting patients are forced into unnecessary procedures in a bid to squeeze huge sums of money from them.

Into this mix, many health facilities stock expired or outdated medicine, which pose a serious danger to consumers. Medical facilities collude with pharmaceuticals and distributors to stock unusable drugs.

As our reports indicate, facilities such as Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, and Kenyatta National Hospital, among others, are notorious for unscrupulous practices.

Professional conduct of some of their medical personnel is highly questionable.

At Nairobi Women’s Hospital, for example, and which represents a number of medical institutions, has evolved a dubious practice where patients are forced into medical procedures and tests they do not need.

DOCILE AGENCIES

Worse, patients are booked for admission just to meet revenue targets when, in actual sense, they ought to be treated and let go.

Unqualified personnel, some of them ordinary clinicians, are engaged to conduct delicate procedures.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council, which regulates the industry, the Kenya Medical Association, which deals with quality, and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union are all aware of these machinations.

Yet when their members’ integrity is questioned, they seldom act.

What is obtaining in many medical institutions is criminal and unethical. This is why we demand independent investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to get to the bottom of the rot.

Those found culpable should be convicted and deregistered.

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