Medical Council of Malawi (MCM) has cautioned the public against paying medical practitioners for services that are supposed to be provided for free in public hospitals.
In an interview yesterday, MCM registrar and chief executive officer Davie Zolowere said cases of medical practitioners fleecing money from patients form 20 percent of the complaints the council handles, adding they are currently investigating four cases of that nature.
He said: “This is a cartel among some practitioners and it is unfortunate and bad for the public. Imagine some practitioners received almost K1 million from a patient for services which were supposed to be free.
Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre
“Some vulnerable patients are having to sell their property in desperation just to pay these illegal fees to get the needed services when they should have been receiving free services considering that taxpayers already paid for such services.”
Zolowere said the council has erased one practitioner from the register, meaning their practice licence has been revoked and they will never be allowed to practice again, while another has been suspended for one year because the person was not the primary instigator.
The MCM head further cautioned patients in paying sections of public facilities to ensure they receive a receipt for their payment as proof that the funds are going into the institution’s purse and not the practitioner’s.
In a separate interview, health rights activist Maziko Matemba described the development as unfortunate, since such malpractices deny deserving citizens quality services.
“People should report these cases to relevant authorities—we have civil society organisations, the office of the Ombudsman, the Medical Council of Malawi, Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the police.”
Malawi Health Equity Network executive director George Jobe attributed the issue to some patients’ ignorance of their rights, and the practitioners spirit of corruption and greed.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3 calls for good health and well-being for all while goal number 10 calls for reduction of inequality within and among countries.