The Ministry of Health has introduced a directive to suspend all illegal and unregulated medical practices in the country, a move that has met with criticism from health operators.
The new directive will affect health providers of alternative medical services such as nutritional therapists, herbalists, reflexologists and physiotherapists, who operate outside conventional medical practices. Their operations have been growing at a fast rate in recent years.
Malick Kayumba, the division manager of the Rwanda Health Communication Centre says every medical practitioner has to operate in accordance with set rules and regulations as they cannot take chances with people's health.
Mr Kayumba said the decision came after a series of inspections on many health practices showed many health operators were operating illegally. “We found that many service providers were not following the set guidelines and this is dangerous to people’s health if not checked,” he added.
Some health operators have come out to say that instead of arbitrarily closing them, the government should enable them to get regulated by the Ministry of Health.
“We have been pleading with the Ministry of Health to help us streamline our regulation, but are yet to get any concrete help with this. Now they come up with a decision to close us,” said a health operator, who asked for anonymity.
The operators said the government has failed them several times due to bureaucracy and the Ministry dragging its feet on regulating them.