More hospitals to treat patients online

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The Kenya Council of Physicians and Dentists (KMPDC) on Sunday (February 21) began licensing various health facilities to offer telemedicine services across the country.

The KMPDC, which issued interim approvals to 20 healthcare facilities in 2020, further expanded the scope of annual licensing to registered and licensed healthcare facilities offering virtual healthcare services.

Last year, the approvals were not formally documented as they only authorized healthcare facilities to offer virtual consultation services.

A person using a telephone

“The Council’s decision to license establishments to offer telemedicine is a response to a growing need for services due to physical distance rules imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Michael, secretary interim of the company KMPDC. Onyango.

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Although Kenya does not have laws in place regulating telemedicine, the Council managed to develop eHealth guidelines in 2019 which were approved and published by relevant government authorities.

Telemedicine has taken root in Kenya in the aftermath of Covid-19 through mobile clinics, home visiting physician services, airline medical services, and online pharmaceutical care.

The KMPDC decision aims to promote universal health coverage by increasing access to health services.
“The rules will provide a basis for the full deployment of telemedicine services in Kenya,” Onyango said.

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The Council projects growth in e-services which have facilitated the establishment of a regulatory framework for e-health in Kenya. The code of conduct for physicians and dentists is also being revised with the aim of aligning it with technology-driven health services.

The use of ICTs in the health sector has been largely absorbed into the Kenyan legal framework, with enabling laws primarily related to health and ICT; some of which include the Health Act, the Pharmacy and Poisons Act, the Data Protection Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

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Kenya’s shift to digital services has also significantly affected the education sector which has kept learners engaged during the lockdown period.

Meru hospital level 5

Inside Meru Level 5 Hospital in Meru Town, Meru County.

(COURTESY)

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