Rwanda has directed that no healthcare provider should carry their cell phones at work after it emerged they get distracted while on duty.
Ministry of Health announced via Twitter that effective 1st March, Rwanda healthcare providers are prohibited from using personal phones during working hours.
Patients have always complained about medical personnel who divert to social media – WhatsApp, facebook in most cases thus creating delays in service delivery.
During an ongoing workshop of healthcare providers in Kigali, representatives from all levels who gathered in Kigali said “alarming carelessness caused by phone calls and chats is affecting services.”
A source in Ministry of Health told KT Press under condition of anonymity that participants reminded several death cases or unexpected incidents that were caused by medics’ intervention delays while on phone.
“One of the cases represented in the workshop is a baby in Rwamagana who became lame because the doctor left him untreated and went to answer a call,” the source said.
Some medics told KT Press they are conversant with the decision.
Rukundo Emmanuel a dentist in Kibagabaga hospital said the ban of personal phones will not affect their daily work in any way. He only suggested, “There should be a general way to help medics communicate among them during working hours.”
“If they have stopped phones effectively, I hope they also provide a general way of communication to be used for professional matters,” he said.
The Minister of health Diane Gashumba told KT Press, “heads of services will be provided with emergency calls and other phones that would be used by all service seekers and staff inside any medical institution for professional matters.”
This directive will affect all healthcare professionals in the country, and it is part of policies the Ministry is developing to optimize better service delivery.