The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has acclaimed the draft Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR), initiated and developed under the leadership of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
The broad and comprehensive statement of rights of patients, their responsibilities, and obligations of healthcare providers is the largest step quite yet to protect patients and ensure the highest level of ethical conduct by healthcare professionals as well as enhance the quality and standard of care in the healthcare sector.
The Minister’s enthusiasm and support for the initiative which he characterized as impressive, thoughtful and a matter of legacy was apparent and unmistakeable.
The Minister made these assertions when CPC’s Director General, Babatunde Irukera led a team of CPC management and the working team on the PBoR to a working meeting with the Minister and leadership of the Ministry of Health on the document.
Adewole applauded the Council for the initiative and the scope of the issues covered by the PBoR. He expressed optimism on how transformational it will be to service delivery in the healthcare sector and how it publicizes the standard of care healthcare professionals should be held accountable to.
The Minister and members of his team in particular commended the Council for also identifying the responsibility of patients and their families in the entire care value chain and healthcare ecosystem.
He noted that he had gone through the document, the Legal Department of the Ministry had vetted it, and now critical senior and relevant directorates of the ministry have contributed to the document.
While thanking the CPC, he expressed his conviction that this effort will modify behaviour on both sides of the coin (patient and provider), and demonstrate to citizens that the Federal Government cares about, and prioritizes their well-being and welfare, and is assiduously focused on ensuring citizens are treated with regard and dignity at all times, especially at a vulnerable time like ill-health.
The Minister specifically welcomed the inclusion of detailed rules about the subject of confidentiality, emphasizing that it will promote confidence in the healthcare sector.
The new Nigerian Medical Association President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, and members of his new Executive, who were also on hand, expressed their appreciation for the initiative, and their familiarity with it, as it was part of handing over briefings from the previous and outgone executive team. He committed to ensuring any additional comments from the NMA is promptly forwarded to the CPC.
Irukera, while responding, noted that the PBoR is an example of how the Council can collaborate with professional associations to foster consumer protection, improve internal ethics, and weed out quacks.
He remarked that CPC was proud and grateful about the broad consensus and commitment that culminated in the document with all major professional associations in the healthcare sector, including nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, laboratory technologists, among others, working with the CPC in a working group to ensure the final document captures all the salient issues.
Irukera further noted that CPC is grateful that the Honourable Minister and the ministry will champion and provide leadership for the proliferation of these rights and a better approach to patient care in Nigeria.