NGO educates public on accident, gunshot victims’ rights to emergency treatment

A non-governmental organisation, Advocacy for the Right of the Patients and the Aged Persons in Nigeria Initiative, has condemned what it called rejection of emergency patients by hospitals in the country when they are brought for treatment.

The NGO, at its first public presentation and award ceremony in Abuja on Monday, stated that outright rejection of unconscious patients was a reach of fundamental human rights.

Chairman, Board of Trustees of the NGO, Mr Noah Ataboh, said that every patient has the right to be attended to, especially in times of emergency, even without money and police report, in a situation of unconsciousness, accidents and others.

“We are here to sensitise the public towards the rights of a patient in the hospital. ARPAPNI is the convener of this programme in which it affirms the role in terms of emergency. Patients have the fundamental right to be attended to during emergencies because it is part of their fundamental human right to life. This right can die if not properly used.

“This right is being abused at the hospitals by stakeholders and hospital workers. We have noted that some of the causes of this situation are when the government is not providing enough equipment and remuneration as it ought to be. But most importantly, workers in the hospital need to know that patients have the right to be attended to promptly in times of emergency even without money,” he stressed.

The NGO board chairman disclosed that it started the advocacy by first organising educational programmes for stakeholders in the health sector, in the aim to let them know and appreciate that patients have rights.

According to him, if stakeholders in the health sector are doing what they ought to do, patients will not suffer at the hospitals.

He said that the NGO plans to take the advocacy to legislators and the executives, to also do the right thing in terms of provision of adequate resources to the health sector.

According to him, five per cent of the country’s budget as declared by the law for the health sector should be used judiciously in the areas where emergency situations are needed.

He said that the government had yet to set up a proper committee that would be in charge of managing the five per cent allocation of the country’s budget for the health sector.

Mr Ataboh also called on the government to set up the necessary apparatus that would help to transform the health sector.

Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, FCT Council, Jama Medan, who was one of the recipients of an award of excellence in the medical field, appreciated the NGO for finding him worthy of the award.

Mr Medan, an employee of the Maitama District Hospital, stated “the award given to me was an excellent patient carer award,” stating that he didn’t expect it from the NGO.

According to him, the award shows that somebody somewhere is monitoring whatever one is doing in secret. He urged medical workers to do their work with dedication. Receiving the award, he said “I am very happy and excited about it and I thank the organisers. I will continue to put my best to the work.’’