NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 14 – Sixty-two medical negligence claims have been reported to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) in 2021, as of September, with obstetricians and gynecologists accounting for the highest number of cases.
KMPDC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya said Obstetrics and Gynecology specialty of medical profession maintained the highest number of cases of medical negligence posting 360 cases since 1997.
“Should a patient feel that they did not receive quality healthcare while receiving treatment, they have a right to lodge a complaint with the Council. We also receive complaints from a patient’s relatives, guardians, caregivers and also the media. Members of the public may also report their cases,” he said on Tuesday before the Senate Health Committee investigating under-reported cases of medical negligence and malpractice.
The Council said a total of 1,301 cases of medical negligence against various health facilities had been recorded in Kenya since 1997.
Yumbya revealed that the Council had determined a total of 1,172 complaints while 129 cases are pending at various stages of investigation.
“Upon receipt the complaints are submitted to the Council’s legal department for processing before they are tabled before the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee. Once a complaint has been lodged, the Council forwards it to the practitioner/institution within 5 working days to respond to the allegations in the complaint,” he said.
Internal medicine and surgery were also cited as the specialties with the highest number of reported cases of medical negligence at 198 and 181 respectively.
Acting Director General of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth however pointed out that the number is not reflective of the actual picture since some cases go unreported.
“Medical negligence and malpractices occurring in health facilities majority of the cases go unreported because of fear or lack of information on the aggrieved parties and few cases that are reported are usually lodged through the respective professional regulatory bodies and councils as complaints,” he said.
Where after an inquiry, the Council determines that a person is guilty, the Council may issue a caution or reprimand in writing, direct a medical practitioner or dentist to undergo remedial training for a period not exceeding twelve months, direct the medical practitioner or dentist be placed on probation for a period not exceeding six months.
The Council may also suspend, withdraw or cancel the practicing licence of a medical practitioner or dentist for a period not exceeding twelve months, suspend, withdraw or cancel the licence of a health institution or a section of the health institution for a period not exceeding twelve months, permanently remove the name of a medical practitioner or dentist from the registers under section.
Monetary penalties have increased over time from Sh5, 000 to Sh10 million.