Catholic health workers hold seminar on Patients’ Bill of Rights

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Catholic health workers hold seminar on Patients' Bill of Rights
A cross section of Catholic health workers at the seminar

A one day seminar on the newly assented Patients’ Bill of Rights has ended at Obiri Odenigbo, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, Nov. 14. It was organized by the Owerri Provincial Health Services, for nurses and health workers in Catholic health facilities in Owerri Ecclesiastical Province.

In her welcome address, the Owerri Provincial Health Services Coordinator, Lady Stella-Maris Achunine said the Catholic bishops of the province sponsored the seminar to enable health workers in the province to abreast themselves on the Patients’ Bill of Right and other health issues.

She said that while it is good to talk about the right of patients, it is also proper to remind all that nurses and other health workers have their rights too.

Lady Achunine urged participants to be focused and remember that nursing is not only a profession but also a vocation even though it is the beginning to lose her vocational feel as certain virtues have been sacrificed on the altar of material wealth.

She thanked Governor Rochas Okorocha for signing the bill establishing five schools of Nursing and Midwifery in the province.

The coordinator appealed for the establishment of health insurance scheme and proper networking in the dioceses.

In his paper, the guest lecturer, Barr. Ikenna Eze, Deputy-General Secretary, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Headquarters Abuja, spoke on: “Maintaining Obligations and Rights of the Nurses Versus Patients’ bill of rights in Nigeria. An assurance for service satisfaction of both parties.”

Barr. Eze, who is also a nurse, said the demand for Patients’ Bill of Rights did not just come from the blues. “Over the years, there have been complaints made on daily basis of the dehumanizing attitude against patients and relations in the process of seeking for care in our health institutions. Conversely, healthcare professionals have also had their own challenges from patients, families and relations.”

Barr. Eze warned that with this law, any dehumanizing altitude of care providers to patients and their relations can now be redressed through the Nigeria Judicial System that is constitutionally empowered to apply appropriate sanctions against any erring healthcare professioner.

On July 31, 2018, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, in Abuja, launched Nigeria’s first Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR) developed by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health. The Bill is an aggregation of human rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The following are the twelve (12) Rights as provided in Nigeria’s Patient s Bill of Rights;

1. Right to relevant information in a language and manner the patient understands, including diagnosis, treatment, other procedures and possible outcomes.

2. Right to timely access to detail and accurate medical records and available services.

3. Right to transparent billing and full disclosure of any cost, including recommendation treatment plans.

4. Right to privacy and confidentiality of medical records.

5. Right to clean, safe and secure healthcare environment.

6. Right to be treated with respect, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, allegations of crime, disability or economic circumstances.

7. Right to receive urgent, immediate and sufficient intervention and care in the event of an emergency.

8. Right to reasonable visitation in accordance with prevailing rules and regulations.

9. Right to decline care, subject to prevailing laws and upon full disclosure of the consequences of such a decision.

10.Right to decline or accept to participation in medical research, experimental procedures or clinical trials.

11.Right to quality care, in accordance to prevailing standards.

12.Right to complain and express dissatisfaction regarding services received.

The seminar was attended by health coordinators, nurses, midwives and other health professionals from various dioceses in the province. Also present was Comrade Rosemary Ukpabi, Imo State Secretary of NANNM and other resource persons.

  • By Emeka Ani
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