Emergency Care Policies & Legislation

Policies &
Legislation

The Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation advocates for universal emergency care to be prioritised within the healthcare system in Kenya by working alongside national and county governments and stakeholders to develop comprehensive policies and frameworks. 

Universal Emergency Care Coverage in Kenya 2018-2022

The Government of Kenya is committed to fulfilling the requirements in the Constitution that guarantees all citizens the right of access to quality healthcare, including reproductive health and emergency treatment. The Ministry of Health has developed the Emergency Medical Care Policy 2018–2030 which provides a framework for the provision of an Emergency Medical Care Fund and establishment of an efficient Emergency Medical Care System for all.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to include emergency services

The Government of Kenya today launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Pilot Program dubbed Afya Care – Wema Wa Mkenya that will enable Kenyans to access affordable healthcare without financial hardship.

The President highlighted that with the UHC card, Kenyan residents in the four pilot counties will now access health services ranging from Emergency Services, Child Health Services, Maternal Health Services, Mental Health Services, Infectious Disease Management, Non-communicable Disease Management, Inpatient and Outpatient Services and Community Health Services across county public health facilities.

WHO launches the Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative


8 December 2018 | GENEVA/DAVOS:  Today with the generous support of the Davos-based AO Foundation, WHO launches the Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative. Around the world, acutely ill and injured people die every day due to a lack of timely emergency care. Among them are children and adults with injuries and infections, heart attacks and strokes, asthma and acute complications of pregnancy. Many countries have no emergency access telephone number to call for an ambulance or no trained ambulance staff. Many hospitals lack dedicated emergency units and have few providers trained in the recognition and management of emergency conditions. These gaps result in millions of avoidable deaths every year.    

“No one should die for the lack of access to emergency care, an essential part of universal health coverage,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We have simple, affordable and proven interventions that save lives. This initiative will ensure that millions of people around the world have access to the timely, life-saving care they deserve.”   

The goal of the WHO Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative is to save millions of lives over the next five years through improvements to emergency care systems. Its aims are two-fold: to rapidly increase capacities to provide quality emergency care in countries around the world, and to foster awareness through a global advocacy campaign about its potential to save lives. 

In an initial phase, WHO and partners will support 10 low- and middle-income countries to assess their national emergency care systems, identify any shortcomings and implement proven interventions to address these gaps. Activities at the national level include the development of national plans and key policies, such as laws addressing the role of bystanders and access to care without regard to ability to pay; and implementation of WHO standards addressing the way emergency care systems are organized and resourced.    

WHO and partners will also facilitate low-cost improvements in the way that emergency care is delivered. These include implementing triage and WHO checklists that ensure a systematic approach to the care of every patient. In addition, frontline providers will be trained through  WHO-ICRC Basic Emergency Care and other courses. The initiative will support systematic data collection on acutely ill and injured people and how their conditions are managed, including via the WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care.   

The launch of this initiative is made possible through a CHF 10 million grant from the AO Foundation, which promotes excellence in patient care through a network of thousands of practitioners in 100 countries. It is one of a number of partners poised to contribute to the WHO Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative, including others in the WHO Global Alliance for Care of the Injured. This work executes the mandate established by the World Health Assembly resolution WHA 60.22 on emergency-care systems.

Related links

WHO Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative https://www.who.int/emergencycare/en/   

WHO Trauma Care Checklist https://www.who.int/emergencycare/trauma-care-checklist-launch/en/    

WHO-ICRC Basic Emergency Care (BEC): Approach to the acutely ill and injured https://www.who.int/emergencycare/publications/Basic-Emergency-Care/en/    

WHO International Registry for Emergency and Trauma Care https://www.who.int/emergencycare/irtec/en/    

WHO Global Alliance for Care of the Injured https://www.who.int/emergencycare/gaci/en/   

World Health Assembly Resolution WHA 60.22 http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHASSA_WHA60-Rec1/E/reso-60-en.pdf?ua=1

What does the law say about emergency medical treatment in Kenya?

  • Medical institutions that fail to provide health care services necessary to prevent and manage the damaging health effects due to an emergency situation are culpable.
  • Facilities that have systems that are inappropriately designed and invariably cause a patient deserving of emergency medical treatment not to receive such treatment, are also culpable.
  • Hospitals that prioritize monetary security prior to admission can also be held in violation of the Constitution as well as the Kenya National Patients’ Rights Charter.
  • The liability of the government arises from its duties as stipulated in the Constitution as well as sections 15 and 112 of the Health Act. Where the government thus fails to enact policies; mobilize financial resources, regulate, train and accredit emergency care providers or ensure compliance with already existing guidelines by medical institutions, then it is liable in law. This, must, of course, be done in consultation with county governments and other stakeholders in the health sector acknowledging that health is now a devolved function.

 

Informed Consent

“Even if you perform a procedure in the ED on a patient that was necessary without any complications, you can still be held legally liable for not obtaining the consent…it’s called Battery”