The country’s health sector over the years has faced lots of challenges, including the lack of ethical standards among health professionals at various facilities across the country.
It was from this background that the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) promised to curtail such menace when the leadership launched the first post-war code of conduct for health practitioners in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Launched on April 10, 2019, at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, the code of conduct is a document to guide all health professionals and the public in general. The event was well attended by health professionals from the 15 counties.
During the launch, Dr. Linda Birch, LMDC Chairperson, challenged all health practitioners in the country to see the code of conduct as a tool to uphold the ethics of the profession, and to improve the country’s health sector, as well meet international standards.
“We are calling on physician assistants, doctors, professional midwives, registered nurses or pharmacists to adhere to the code of conduct as of today’s date, because it is binding on all health workers across the country. So it must be respected by all,” Dr. Birch warned.
She said the document shall be used to protect all health professionals, including the general public, because it is intended to help the health sector uphold its ethical standards.
Her statement was made against the backdrop of series of reports about health workers regarding misconduct, ranging from discussion of patients’ private matters, denying patients of their rights, as well demanding bribes from patients; something which Dr. Birch said is totally against medical ethics.
“We want to assure you that, as we launch this document, if anyone is caught in such habit, that person, be they nurses or medical doctors, will be punished in accordance with the law,” she warned.
She then described health workers as vital to the implementation of the code of conduct and, as such, they need to work collectively to ensure that the documents are fully implemented.
Dr. Birch: “You will be held liable for not adhering to the full implementation of these documents we launched today.”
Meanwhile, Varfy Tuley, Assistant Minister of Health, has stressed the need for the media and civil society organizations to be proactive in advocating for the rights of patients.