Rwanda to suspend illegal, unregulated medical practices

The move has been met with criticism from health operators.

Herbal medicine on display during an exhibition in Kigali. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

BY MOSES K GAHIGI

IN SUMMARY

  • 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 decision came after a series of inspections on many health practices showed many health operators were operating illegally and not following the set guidelines.
  • Health operators have come out to plead with the Ministry of Health to enable them get regulated instead of arbitrarily closing them.

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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.

READ: Rwanda rights defenders call for regulation of local healers

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.

READ : Herbalists banned from Kigali international trade expo

Appeal

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.

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