Rwanda: Government bans medics from using mobile phones at work
Victor Muisyo with AGENCIES 11/02 – 08:01
Effective March 1, healthcare providers in Rwanda will be prohibited from using mobile phones during working hours to “ensure better service delivery”, according to an announcement from the country’s Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba.
He made the announcement at a workshop, held in Bugesera District, which sought to chart ways to improve quality of health service delivery at all levels, as the New Times reports.
“They (healthcare providers) were sharing best practices with reports indicating that some hospitals, which banned use of personal phones, proved to be more productive,” said Malik Kayumba, the head of the health communication division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre.
The announcement however drew mixed reactions, with some saying that while it is a positive move, mobile phones are effective tool when used well and there is need to ensure the decision doesn’t backfire.
“Use of personal phones has a negative impact at some point as some can use it in their personal business while at work,” said Agnes Uwayezu, the outgoing chairperson of National Council of Nurses and Midwives.
In some countries, medical staff are not allowed to use mobile phones while on duty but they have pagers they use to communicate work-related messages, and this could be a good solution for Rwanda, Uwayezu said.
Rwanda’s healthcare system operates roughly 440 health centers, 34 health posts which are mainly involved with the outpatient programmes such as immunizations and family planning services, a number of dispensaries, and 48 district hospitals.
The country has four national referral hospitals which are Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Butare (CHUB), King Faisal Hospital (KFH) and the Kanombe Military Hospital.