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Doctors need to be held accountable—Society

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The Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi has said medical practitioners need to be held accountable as they perform their duties as that helps them uphold etiquettes of professionalism.

The society through its President Victor Mithi has said this following a determination made by the medical profession regulator—Medical Council of Malawi—which has given pathologist Charles Dzamalala a warning following his alleged medical negligence and unprofessional conduct on performing forensic pathology and report on the death of Kottana Chidyaonga.

The council has also suspended Dr Ruth Chimutu for medical negligence after she mistakenly administered lethal drug veruconium bromide that led to the death of the 22 year-old Chidyaonga in January 2020.

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According to Mithi, the incident also sends a message to government to work on providing conducive environment for medical practitioners.

“These are times where the practice needs to go according to the prescriptions that are within the job and even the duties of a medical doctor. You know the medical council has started doing its job and this is indeed how things are supposed to be, the practitioners need to be hold accountable and they need to appreciate the consequences.

“At the same time as these things are happening, the government also needs to re-examine the environments where our people are working. Because some issues that come out as medical negligence are actually the impacts of the system and lack of resources that we have been experiencing. So while we accept the determination by the council we also believe the Ministry of Health will put its house in order,” he said.

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Mithi said it would be quick to comment on whether the sanctions are enough to deter future misconducts.

However, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) Executive Director, George Jobe, said the sanctions do not reflect the regulator’s high intolerance of fraud in the profession looking at the gravity of the offences

Jobe said MCM should be proactive than reactive calling it to dig deep as this could be a tip of numerous cases.

“These discoveries should give lessons to the regulatory bodies, here we are talking about the Medical Council of Malawi but we also have other regulatory bodies like the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi, the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority, to be more proactive rather than to wait for cases to come. Lessons can be drawn from Fair Trading Commission and Malawi Bureau of standards ofcourse to some extent Medical Council does monitor health facilities, but what we are talking about here is that when the professionals or the experts produce reports, there should be periodic audits to verify quality,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dzamalala has said would appeal the determination issued by MCM.

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