The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) has expressed concern at the growing cases of medical malpractice and negligence in Botswana and has urged government to move swiftly to fix the problem. BONELA said this at the recent Health Ethics Seminar organised by AVIWE Healthcare Resource and Training Institute themed “Upholding Healthcare Ethics in Modern Society.”
While BONELA confirmed their appreciation of efforts made thus far to promote the observance of principles in healthcare facilities, through various pieces of health legislation such as the Botswana Health Professionals Act and the use of ethical code of conduct, they said the increase in cases of medical malpractice and negligence have become a cause for concern.
BONELA highlighted that they receive at least one case per week, adding that this hardly compares to the magnitude of cases that go unreported. The organization argues that this has the potential to erode the integrity of the health industry in Botswana with more and more patients losing faith in accessing quality healthcare services.
“We call upon the Government of Botswana to create a more legally enabling environment for health by ensuring that the right to health is enshrined within Botswana’s Constitution. We further call upon BHPC to strengthen accountability mechanisms by ensuring that health professionals who breach the Code of Ethical Professional Conduct are taken to task. Lastly, we call upon the public to report cases of ethical violations; documentation is our biggest tool in advocating for justice,” read part of the statement from BONELA.
BONELA further states that, “It is unacceptable that the Government, through taxpayer’s money, continue to bear the costs of medical malpractice, while violators hide behind the veil of vicarious liability. It is therefore stressed that health professionals are held personally liable.