Family says setting Medical Disciplinary Committee is just the first step

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The efforts being made by the government to establish a Medical Disciplinary Committee to investigate members of the medical fraternity who are accused of malpractice, will not adequately fix the problems that currently exist within the country’s healthcare sector.
That’s the view of Tarik Ozundo, one of the sons of the late Esme Stevens, who launched a petition on behalf of his family a month ago, calling for improvements in the healthcare sector and the setting-up of the committee to hold doctors accountable for wrongdoings, once they can be proven.
The government recently announced that the names of three people who will be asked to serve on the committee, and an additional two, to be nominated by the Minister of Health, will be submitted to Cabinet for consideration.
Ozundo said the Disciplinary Committee is only able to provide redress after a tragedy would have happened, noting that there needs to be a holistic approach to tackling an issue before there is a problem.
“Yes, we are grateful that the go­­­­vernment decided to implement the committee to get it constituted, but we are also saying that there is a bigger picture that they need to look at,” Ozundo said.
The call for the set-up of the committee, as mandated by Medical Practitioners Act of 2009, follows the widely circulated petition in honour of Stevens who died on September 11, due to what her family said was a routine procedure which went wrong at the hands of a licensed and experienced local medical practitioner.
Stevens underwent a colonoscopy procedure performed by a private doctor on September 8 and died three days later at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC). The family subsequently launched the petition to get the disciplinary committee in place so they could file their complaint, particularly since they note how expensive it is to pursue a lawsuit.
So far, over 7,000 people have signed the document which Ozundo said will eventually be printed and circulated to garner additional signatures.
“We plan to add just one or two questions in terms of the public’s stance as it relates to healthcare in the country. This is to ensure that the government can see what the public is asking for,” Ozundo said.

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