Have you ever wondered why you still get the same mediocre service despite the new facilities and the innovations that have been achieved within the health industry? “There isn’t a problem with medicine. There is a problem with leadership
There are so many mushrooming hospitals in Kampala and innovations to improve health and health care. The 3 main areas fueling healthcare reform initiatives are cost, access, and quality. These areas have given resonance to the new investments in this area and they are crowned by the health care workers that make it all possible. “It is not so much that people factor is so special or magical, it is because they are the ones that use the technology and all reform initiatives to make it work for the patient.
This special #MeToo article, is written in response to the outcry of employees who have worked and are still working for Ruby Medical Center. It examines the challenges the people are experiencing with respect to workplace bullying, unethical medical practices, unfair dismissals and how management is responding to this outcry.
Healthcare leaders face immense financial pressures, frequent regulatory shifts and unprecedented disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. All of this impacts healthcare’s most important asset — its people. It takes extra skill to lead during these times.
Speaking to both current and EX employees at Ruby Medical center, which is a new facility in Kampala, there is a big-time leadership deficiency that has turned this aesthetically pleasing environment and well-equipped facility into a toxic shithole for both its Ugandan and expatriate employees. Notably, its current Managing Director and human resource manager have failed because of behavioral deficiencies and very poor leadership skills.
Beyond the exploitation of staff, the abuse of power in this institution has reached a point where the leadership encourages and sanctions practices that are not in the interests of patients. There been so many cases of overdiagnosis even when conditions do not require the investigations for the sake of meeting financial goals, requests to medical staff to discharge clients who still need hospitalization, paying of commissions to doctors who will recommend their services and zero emphasis on patient safety and quality assurance. Management focus is milking patients and not healing.
A boss can be tough, hold you to high standards, and even have a cold personality. But if he/she consistently treats you with disdain or disgust, while keeping you around at the company, he/she is emotionally abusive. A boss should never cause you to feel deep personal shame or guilt over unproven accusations. Ruby employees are targets of ridicule, threats and demeaning comments by their MD on a daily basis, which results in decreased satisfaction, productivity, and commitment to the job as well as the organization at large. We found that at Ruby it’s a norm for staff to be abused, payments to be delayed and denied, unlawful termination and even unethical health practices that are all championed by the Managing director Mr. Karim Jamal and his human resource manager. In most cases, the nastiness of bullies in leadership positions is not obvious and is not displayed for a workforce to see in a public arena but at Ruby is it almost similar to public display of affection.
Where is the law that protects Ugandans from this kind of exploitation from foreign Investors with no leadership abilities? Companies like Ruby have no plans of ensuring safe productive work environments that demonstrates fairness and accountability, respecting patient rights and contributing to healthcare service delivery.
Experiencing an uncomfortable situation in the workplace may be more than an unpleasant event and is against the law which is makes this conversation very important. Despite the fact that we all need to survive and, therefore, have to work hard to earn a living, one should never be subjected to being a slave at their workplace. Working hard and being a slave to a system that doesn’t appreciate your hard work are two completely different things. It is important to know when you are fulfilling your duty and when you are being exploited.
The vulnerability of health workers has been one of the harshest lessons of the pandemic and has a has also taken a significant psychological toll. Health worker rights and patient safety are inseparable and leaders should commit to concrete actions that ensure safer conditions for health workers and patients. You and I know more, let’s do more.
Together we can protect Ruby employees, patients and defend our health workers against this kind of unfair employer practices.