20 February 2019

Rwanda: Nurses, Midwives Accused of Using Forged Licenses

Photo: New Times
Medical staff at an hospital in Kigali.

The medical advice one gets from some health centres and hospitals could be unreliable after it emerged that some nurses and midwives use forged documents.

The malpractice was exposed yesterday by officials from the National Council of Nurses and Midwives (NCNM) as they appeared before the Senatorial standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions over issues surrounding the regulation of the health sector.

Others who appeared before the committee include Rwanda Allied Health Professions Council, Medical and Dental Council, as well as the National Pharmacy Council.

The disclosure by NCNM will raise public scrutiny on the ability of some medics to provide quality healthcare services to Rwandans.

Innocent Kagabo, the Chairperson of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said that most candidates who fail licensing exams resort to forgery.

Some, he said, studied non-science subjects such as tailoring, plumbing, and construction, among others.

When they fail for the first, second and third time, he said, they try to get the practicing license through illegal means such as corruption.

The law establishing the National Council of Nurses and Midwives was published in the Official Gazette in 2008, but the council started issuing practicing licenses in 2012.

He said that, so far, they have identified about 150 forged licenses in nursing and midwifery and that the council has reported the cases to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) for action.

Kagabo added that most of the forgeries have been uncovered since 2016 when all hospitals were requested to verify the legitimacy of their nurses and midwives with the council.

"The major challenge we have today is our nationals who cross the border to study in neighbouring countries where we have no means to monitor them. In addition, most of them work in public and private institutions as full-time employees and full-time students in neighbouring countries, and you wonder when they study," he said.

Those who have passed the exams genuinely are required to pay Rwf45,000 for the license which is renewed every three years.

"We need medics who are internationally recognised, that is the reason why you issue licenses," said Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo.

Some 15,281 nurses and midwives are registered with the National Council of Nurses.

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