By Watchdog reporter

Kenya has issued new regulations to the medical fraternity. Now doctors practicing in the country are free to market their services and health institutions. In Uganda, it is illegal to advertise medical services although many countries of the world doctors advertise their services in mass media and other platforms.

There is however a few restrictions doctors practicing in Kenya cannot do, and that is to participate or feature in health related adverts or endorse products.

Health cabinet secretary Cleopa Mailu says in a special gazette notice published on July 26, “A practitioner or health institution shall not directly or indirectly permit any promotion which maybe reasonably regarded as calculated to attract patients, clients or business except as provided under this rules”.

“Advertisement under these rules shall only contain information about services offered in Kenya,” the notice explains.

The identity of the medical or dental practitioner, health institutions or hospitals they run, addresses, physical location emails and websites are allowed.

The language of business, hours of operation and a statement of the position currently or previously held by the practitioner within the institution can also run.

Doctors are also allowed to expose the bodies that authorised their practice as well as year of registration.

Professional and academic qualification of the practitioner provided that any such professional qualification should be recognized by the board can also be exposed.

“The practitioner can also market any publication, research work or any contribution the practitioner has made in the medical field forms…as long as they don’t infringe on patient confidentiality,” the regulations state.

“Practitioners or health institutions shall not provide names, pictures or identities of patients in an advertisement,” the rules read in part.

The Star newspaper says information that creates or is likely to create unrealistic or unwarranted expectations about the effectiveness of health services offered has been banned.

The paper adds that also banned is signage that uses the Red Cross and Red Crescent copyright, false or misleading statements.

Advertisement with information on arranged referral commission paid as well as details promising to complete treatment of patients in any particular time or faster are also outlawed.

A promise by a health practitioner to achieve a particular outcome for the patient or prospective patient is also banned.

“Those who fail to follow the rules will have committed a professional misconduct,” the rule outlines.