LASHMA Unveils Patients’ Bill of Rights after Pharmanewsonline Report

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  • Commits to Implementation of Patients’ Rights

A nursing mother at the LASUTH GOPD.

The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has launched Ilera Eko Service Charter and Enrollees Bill of Rights, as a means of ensuring enrollees’ satisfaction, as well as holding healthcare providers responsible for any infringement of patients’ rights as enshrined in the documents.

The introduction of these documents came after Pharmanewsonline published an investigative piece that revealed how health workers in state-owned health facilities have been violating patients’ rights with impunity without any sanction from authorities in charge. It was also discovered that Bill of Rights was conspicuously missing from the reception of public hospitals visited in the state, which incapacitated patients from demanding for their rights, as they ought.

The investigative story titled “Revealed: How Nigerian Health Workers Violate Patients’ Rights with Impunity”, published some months ago, found that the Lagos State Health Management Agency, was yet to domesticate the Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR), as inaugurated in July 2018, under the supervision of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), now Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPC). This empowered health workers in the state to trample on patients’ rights in the process of seeking access to quality healthcare services.

Speaking at the unveiling of the documents held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja recently, the Head of Service, Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said the inauguration of the Service Charter, Enrollees Handbook and Bill of Rights, shows LASHMA’s readiness to serve its customers statewide and be held accountable for lapses in the quality of the standard of service delivery.

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Revealed: How Nigerian Health Workers Violate Patients’ Rights with Impunity
Revealed: How Nigerian Health Workers Violate Patients’ Rights with Impunity
A housekeeper dusting the walls on patients at the LASUTH GOPD.

“The implication of today’s service commitment is that customers’ satisfaction must be at the forefront of all LASHMA processes and services” he emphasised.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, while commenting on the occasion, disclosed that state government  since the passage of the Lagos State Health Scheme Law in 2015, had done a lot towards ensuring that all residents in the state irrespective of their socio-cultural background, have access to quality, equitable and affordable healthcare.

Prof. Abayomi said that ILERA EKO Day is aimed at celebrating and appreciating the commitments of the customers since the commencement of the scheme. He said “this day does not only mark a distinct milestone for the agency but also the State Government’s effort to ensure sustainable access to quality and affordable healthcare to the teeming Lagos population”.

For the General Manager, LASHMA, Dr  Emmanuella Zamba, patients’ rights have come to stay in the state, as the launch of the documents will reveal patients’ rights to them and means of demanding the rights from providers.

She said the unveiling of these documents will afford patients in the state the opportunity to ask questions on issues bothering on their rights in the healthcare delivery system.

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According to Dr Zamba, “Ilera Eko Service Charter, Enrollees Handbook and Bill of Rights were conceived based on the need to ensure that both LASHMA and health providers, deliver optimal services to the customers”.

She further stated that Ilera Eko customers have a lot of rights which are unknown to many of them and that with the launch; customers will be abreast of their rights and complain when infringed upon.

In the Pharmanewonline report 2 February 2022, patients lamented poor access to healthcare services in the state, long waiting time, ill-treatment by hospital staff, lack of respect for patients while waiting to see doctors, lack of adequate attention from health workers attention, among others. One of such scenarios witnessed by this correspondent at the General Outpatient Department (GOPD) of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), was the manner a housekeeper tidying up the GOPD area exhibited, as she busily dusted the walls and brushed cobwebs from the ceiling, sending particles all over the place, without acknowledging patients’ presence.

So congested was the consulting area that a nursing mother, whose baby wouldn’t stop screaming from discomfort, could get no convenient place to sit to feed the physically-challenged infant.

Another patient we spoke to was Alhaja Kaosarat, a diabetic, who resides in the Igbogbo area of Ikorodu, Lagos. Her major grouse with caregivers at the General Hospital Ikorodu is their persistent refusal to entertain or answer questions regarding her condition.

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Don’t Treat ILERA EKO Enrollees with Levity, LASHMA Warns Hospitals

According to her, “Doctors are usually too busy on clinic days to attend to our questions. They will just ask, ‘Any compliant?’ ‘Where are your drugs?’ ‘When last did you change your drugs?’ And this is all. Most of them won’t give you time to ask them other questions relating to your condition, as they will be in haste to call the next patient. We need the government to help us appeal to doctors to be paying attention to our questions.”

Pharmanewsonline reports that PBoR is an aggregate of all patients’ rights that exist in other instruments, including the 1999 Constitution, the Consumer Protection Act, the Child Rights Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the National Health Act.

While all the 12 health rights contained in the PBoR are essential, Pharmanewsonline can report that some of the rights are higher in the hierarchy of needs than others.

These include right to privacy, and confidentiality of medical records; right to clean, safe, and secure healthcare environments; right to be treated with respect, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, allegations of crime, disability or economic circumstances; and right to receive urgent, immediate and sufficient intervention and care, in the event of an emergency.

 

 

 

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