In a country having a low per capita with 41.3% of the population living in rural areas having no regular income or any form of social security, disease incidences result in decreased income, increased levels of poverty, and stress. According to The World Health Organization, “without the quality of life, an expanded life span is of no interest, the desire to have good health is as significant as life expectancy.”
Compared to US doctors who are heavily burdened by debts at the time of graduation, Moroccan doctors enjoy free medical education both locally and in many European countries. They, therefore, do not have any excuse for not offering proper medical care, yet the training they get is up to standard. Immediately after leaving medical school, they have to serve in government hospitals for many years then, later on, are allowed to practice privately. Moroccan doctors are, therefore, highly skilled and qualified. But after opening their private facilities and clinics, it appears like they forget all the medical ethics they acquired in college.
The State of Morocco’s health care system
One thing about the health care system in Morocco is that patients have to go for tests and services to clinics not found within the hospitals. You only get medication from the local pharmacies. The Health care system in Morocco is three-tiered
Military health system
The military health system is one of the best in terms of offering medical care to its patients. It comprises of qualified doctors and well-equipped hospitals. The armed forces are the only ones who can get health care services free of charge from these facilities.
Public/civilian Health care system
The public healthcare sector comprises the healthcare resources of the Ministry of Health. It has good doctors. The public medical industry is, however, mediocre, at best. The public sector has lots of challenges, including the following:
- The poor people and those from the rural areas have difficulties accessing primary health care more so for chronic illnesses.
- Poor management of government hospitals.
- Inadequate staff to handle the increasing number of people in need of health care, and finally,
- Lack of moral responsibilities on some of the physicians, together with the issue of corruption.
The civilian health care sector is the one legally allowed by law to handle emergency cases. Though the government is aware of all these challenges, efforts to fix the problem have not borne fruits so far.
The private health system
The private sector comprises two sub-divisions. Non-Profit sector putting together the health assets of the National Fund for Social Security (CNSS), the Mutual’s, and the National Fund of Social Welfare Bodies (NFSWB), the Moroccan Red Crescent (MRC), and NGOs.
The other sector is out to make profits. It is a payment system and comprises of the healthcare structures owned and run by health care experts such as dental and heart specialists among others as well as general practitioners.
Further investigation of the Private Health care system
One of our investigators confirmed how unethical many Physicians become once in their private facilities. Due to security reasons, we are not going to mention names as this is very common in more than 80% of private practices. We made several appointments with a number of the doctors but had to wait for an average of 3 hours before they finally showed up.
Moroccan doctors can take as many patients per day as they wish; there are no limits set up by law. It is not unheard of that a specialist could serve up to 10 patients per hour which really does not allow too much time per patient. This can lead to many mistakes in diagnosis.
According to Moroccan law, a specialist consultation fee can go up to 250 Dirhams, which is approximately 27USD per patient per visit.
Private practice in Morocco is a lucrative business. Assuming a doctor works for five days plus a half-day on Saturday doing visits, the doctors total earning will be as follows:
In one week, a Moroccan surgeon could see 165 patients, multiplied by 27USD. Total earning per week will be 4455 USD. In a year, it will add up to 231660 USD. In addition, if you add to that income from surgeries it is so easy for a surgeon with private clinics to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Health Insurance in Morocco
Currently, the health care system in Morocco is not well developed. The government, however, has put processes to make the system better and improve the quality of medical services to both the expatriates and local residents. The authorities are working on ways to increase universal health coverage, reduce medical costs, and improve the quality of services even to rural areas and other areas that seem to be isolated.
About Two-thirds of Moroccans have medical coverage. There is the Mandatory Health Insurance Plan (Assurance Maladie Obligatoire, AMO) and the Medical Assistance Regime (RAMED). Both schemes are state-owned. AMO started as an employer-based Health insurance scheme in 2005 for both employees in the public and private sectors.
The national health coverage through the two medical schemes provides coverage to almost 62% of the population. At least this indicates an improvement in the government to improve the health care of its people.
Medical malpractices in Morocco and what action to take to reduce them
Medical malpractice is a severe issue in Morocco, which is still a developing nation. Moroccans are serious about this issue because of the increasing number of deaths as a result of medical negligence by local doctors. Some of these errors include misdiagnosis, unnecessary surgeries, lack of communication, lack of enough medical equipment, and lack of ethical doctors.
The government has to act up fast to curb these malpractices. The doctors need to be well trained and take time to diagnose the patient’s problem before issuing any medication accurately. Proper communication also should be encouraged between the doctor and the patient. The hospitals and Clinics should be well equipped with all the necessary equipment. Lastly, all the doctors need to have the life of the patient at heart and not that of their bank accounts.