Health Nigeria: Patients’ Bill of Rights for consumers coming soon

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The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have commenced a process for the formulation of an acceptable Guide to regulate interaction between patients and medical doctors in the country.

The proposed guide to be known as Patients’ Bill of Rights will identify rights and privileges in a patient-care giver relationship for the protection of consumers.

The Council and the medical association agreed to develop the guide when the President of NMA, Professor Mike Ogirima led members of his executive team on a courtesy call on the Director General of the council, Babatunde Irukera, in Abuja over the weekend.

Irukera said it was imperative that the two organisations collaborate and jointly disseminate these rights to consumers to promote higher and safer healthcare standards.

“We need to ensure people know their rights – the right to information, proper explanation of their medical situation in a language they understand; the right to control decision-making with respect to their treatment regiment; the right to know when to, where to and how to secure a second opinion, if desired,” he said.

He asserted that the introduction of the Bill of Rights in Nigeria is long overdue, noting that “nothing improves standards more than consumers demanding it and asking questions”.

The NMA President also called on CPC to support re-orientation retreats for the association’s members and other health workers in order to remind them of their sworn oath, which he said “the trends in the society are fast eroding on a continuous basis”.

Professor Ogirima also thanked and sought CPC support to the ongoing advocacy to make health insurance universal and compulsory.