I had been waiting for this day anxiously and finally, it was here the 4th of October 2013.
It was all the buzz in the office and you could just see it in people’s eyes that what has been fought for so long is finally here. Before I joined Morris Moses foundation as an intern I can promise you that I never really gave much thought to the healthcare system in Kenya but I knew it wasn’t one of the best in the world. I had no idea that patients had or are supposed to have rights, but today I know that we from Morris Moses Foundation will sleep better tonight knowing that Kenya has the first patients’ right charter in the whole of Africa.
The launch took place at a breakfast meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi. The function began at 8 a.m. with introductions by Mr Yumbia the CEO of the Kenya Medical Board. The first speech was addressed to the crowd by Dr Richard Saning’o the chairman of Morris Moses Foundation, he pointed out that the patients’ rights charter is not a witch hunt tool but in fact, it is meant to empower both the doctors and the patients. From his speech, it can also be noted that medicine should be regarded as a profession that both parties bring aboard 50%-50% to the practice, in that doctors bring their knowledge to the table while patients bring 50% in terms of body, mind and trust to their doctors.
Patricia Mande from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights gave the next speech. She lamented that the patients’ rights charter has content that focuses on the right to access of information about your health condition, rights to access to health services especially emergency treatment. She also stated that if the patients’ rights charter is fully implemented this will result in better standards of the health care system because the patients’ will be empowered.
The programme director of IPAS Africa, an organization that deals with reproductive health care in Africa, Dr Joachim Osur also graced the occasion with a speech. He pointed out that no woman should ever have to risk her life because of lack of access to proper care. He said that patients have rights and rights matter.
From the Law Society of Kenya we had Professor Kiama Wangai , he stated that it has been a long journey from the conception of the patients’ right charter to the launch and that for there to be an effective charter they had to consider all parties involved, this being the doctors, nurses and the patients.
Professor Magoha was the next to speak, he spoke on behalf of Regulatory bodies. He stated that after proper implementation of the charter the pay up first policy should and will be abolished. He said that he agreed with the charter fully because he has experience as both a surgeon and as a servant of the people and he hoped that it will be implemented as soon as possible.
Dr Francis Kimani from the DMS/Registrar stated that doctors should know that they are answerable to the life and death of a patient.
The chief guest of the occasion was Hon. James Macharia, the cabinet secretary for health, he stated that with the proper implementation of the charter the vision of bettering the health sector of Kenya will be achieved, he stated that it can only be achieved if the charter is actually used and not just another document that will gather dust on shelves but if it is taken into action. With that the charter was officially launched and distributed to the audience. It was a lovely occasion and the cause of the occasion was more lovely and noble, this is the first step in a thousand-mile journey that the health sector has taken. You can go through an online copy by following this link on our site.