18 January 2019

Rwanda: Government Moves to Regulate Advertising of Medical Services

The Ministry of Health yesterday banned advertisement of health services and talk shows by those not sanctioned by recognised medical bodies.

According to an announcement signed by Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister of Health, media advertising of such services shows have become excessive in the mainstream and social media.

The regulations have to be followed by all people in the health sector, those who sell drugs, and the media.

"It is prohibited for anyone to advertise drugs and medical services, whether audio shows or in writings, using microphones and on social media," reads a statement.

Besides, all forms of media are prohibited from advertising drugs and medical services without written authorization from the Ministry of Health.

Malick Kayumba, the ministry spokesperson, said the regulations mainly target uncertified people who conduct medical activities yet have no requisite skills in the medical field.

"Just take a moment and listen to various radios, especially during night hours, you will understand how fake physicians or the so-called medical practitioners mislead the public. The negative impacts are dire as many believe them and stop going to certified hospitals for treatment," he said.

Most of them say they have special drugs for serious diseases such as cancer or have drugs that cure many diseases, he said.

As a result, people spend their money and time on fake medical practitioners and most of them go to the hospitals very late when nothing can be done to save them, he added.

"Medical professionals know that they are not allowed to advertise. It is included in their oath when they are about to start their carrier, it is even part of international medical ethics," he said.

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