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Published On: Fri, Dec 8th, 2017

Continued medical detentions ‘degrading and abusive’- Chatham House Paper

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

A new Chatham House paper has described as ‘degrading and abusive’, situation where hospitals detain patients’ who could not afford medical bills.
It said such practices were common practice across much of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as parts of India and Indonesia.
The report tagged; ‘Hospital Detentions for Non-payment of Fees: A Denial of Rights and Dignity’ is co-authored by Robert Yates, Project Director of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Policy Forum at Chatham House’s Centre on Global Health Security, Tom Brookes, Programme Officer at The Elders and Eloise Whitaker.
It added that many reported detentions result from emergency care, often following road accidents or complications in childbirth, with mothers being separated from their newborns.
“Hospital Detentions for Non-payment of Fees: A Denial of Rights and Dignity assesses the prevalence of medical detentions globally, the health and human rights impacts, and policy options to reduce and eradicate the practice.
Co-author Robert Yates, said “There is no justification – at any income level or in any country – for health facilities to detain people and, in effect, take them hostage until someone can cover their bill.
“The practice is psychologically and economically crippling – and also disastrous for health outcomes. Fears of debt and detention are scaring people out of seeking life-saving and preventative treatments.”
He added: “There is a clear and practical solution to this problem: eliminate healthcare user fees and provide universal free healthcare.”

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