If you are sick and seeking treatment at a clinic, be careful that you are actually being diagnosed by a genuine physician.
Rwanda health professionals’ body warns that regional countries are sending substandard medical practitioners that are staining the local market.
Last week, the country conducted its annual after-graduation examination to certify medical practitioners under the Rwanda Allied Health Professional Council (RAHPC).
The exercise targeted practitioners from departments of; Medical laboratory services, Physiotherapy, Ophthalmic Clinical, Nutrition and Dietetics, Medical imaging, Dental Therapy, Clinical Medicine and Anaesthesia.
The scores were a good indication that Rwanda continues to import ‘substandard medics’ trained from neighboring countries – according to a statement from RAHPC.
Out of the 557 medical graduates who sat for the exams, only 165 passed and 392 failed.
Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi have emerged as the top countries which offer medical students with skills that do not match requirements in Rwanda.
For example of the 156 candidates with diplomas in Laboratory Services who graduated from Uganda, only six (6) passed the test. In the same category, all the 17 candidates from DRC universities failed the exam.
In this Medical Laboratory category, a total of 216 candidates were assessed and only 54 passed.
Jean Baptiste Ndahiriwe, the Registrar at Rwanda Allied Health Professional Council (RAHPC) says these exams failures are attributed to the education system in the neighbouring countries.
“We think that there is a mismatch in the education system in other countries,” Ndahiriwe said.
One of the examined laboratory attendant who was trained in DRC but failed the RAHPC examination said it is not a mismatch in the education systems but two things which continue to affect them.
“One is that we take long, at least 5 years, to get our diplomas in order to get employed here. So we turn to agriculture and loose our skills in the long run.”
He also said, the francophone system of education makes it difficult to pass an exam in Rwanda’s Anglophone system.
Esperance Uwamahoro, the Deputy Registrar of RAHPC attributes the problem to lack of qualified medical teaching staff in the two countries.
“Delivering the approved programs is still too poor in neighboring countries Different audits done found them with few qualified lecturers,” she said.
Uwamahoro added that their schools do not have standards guiding their training.
RAHPC officials said the after-graduation exam makes a lot of sense as far as promoting professionalism in medical sector is concerned. Any patient in Rwanda who will encounter a problem during treatment and health care will forcibly have someone to hold responsible.
The council committed to uphold international and regional medical health practitioner standards which are aimed at protecting lives of citizens.
“The council has a responsibility to ensure that it protects the public and guides the professions. It takes this responsibility seriously in ensuring optimal health for all people through provision of safe healthcare,” said RAHPC’s Ndahiriwe.
“This requires practitioners that have been educated to the highest professional standards.”
Law Number 30/2001 of 12/116/2001 creating the Medical Council is the only instrument that so far provides deterrent measures to medical malpractice in Rwanda. It gives patients right to complain if services delivered are not up to standard.
It is a responsibility of the medical council to punish practitioners liable of patients’ abuses.
At least between 30 and 40 medical practitioners are reprimanded annually over varying cases of professional malpractices, according to the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council.
Meanwhile, candidates who failed the tests were not satisfied with their score and said that there can be better deals to have many candidates pass.
They suggest that the body organizing the exams- RAHPC should hand this mandate to government institutions in matter of examination; either the Ministry of education or Ministry of health.