By Usman Shuaibu
A Non Governmental Organization (NGO) known as Lifeline Centre for Medical and Health Rights Advocacy (LICMEHRA) has sensitized Nigerians on health rights at the National Press Centre, Radio House Area 11, Abuja.
In his welcome address at the town hall meeting, the President/Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, Dr. Uwakwe Abugu, advised Nigerian patients to always demand for medical and health rights from medical personnel.
His words: “The event is particularly important for bringing together Nigerians representing different shades of opinion, professional backgrounds, trades and businesses to “jaw jaw” on how to improve the past deteriorating relationship between patients and medical personnel in our hospitals”.
He said: “We are here gathered to take a dispassionate look at the expectations of the patients and medical personnel from each other, inquire into the effects and causes of the breakdown in the relationship and to chart the path for improving this relationship”.
He, therefore, frowned at the negative attitude of medical doctors towards the patients in the hospitals, while calling on both patients and doctors to maintain good relationships with each other.
Abugu recalled that the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and Chairman Committee of Chief Medical Directors of the Federal Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria, Thomas Agan attributed that over 90% of deaths recorded in Nigerian hospitals to the poor attitude of health workers.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Deputy Registrar/ Head of Department in charge of planning, Research and Statistics at the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr. Udugbai Ilevbare, emphasized the need for health workers to maintain cordial relationships with their patients in the hospitals.
Ilevbare, however, advised Nigerians to deem necessary to report medical doctors or health workers who engaged in the professional misconducts to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria for necessary actions.
However, in a communiqué presented at the end of the one-day LICMEHRA town hall meeting signed by the President/ Chief Executive of the Centre, suggested the way forward among others to include; healthcare givers should be more humane, empathic and professional and treat patients with dignity and respect, knowing that such patients have legally protected rights, there are too many patients’ rights abuse cases going on in hospitals and other health facilities on daily basis, most Nigerians do not know that they have these rights as patients and there is need for an aggressive sensitization campaign to educate Nigerians on their responsibilities and rights as patients.