Universal health coverage, right of every Nigerian -NMA Says

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says that universal health coverage is the right of every Nigerian citizen.
Dr Kayode Obembe, President of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the right of patients was clearly stated in the Constitution.
Obembe explained that the constitution clearly stipulated that it was the responsibility of government to take care of the health needs of all citizens at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
According to him, instead of using the provisions to better the lots of Nigerians with regard to health they insisted and kept hammering that “health is on the concurrent legislative list so that the states and local governments can enact laws apart from the federal.
He noted that this clause have usually been used to the detriment of citizens by denying them of that right as enshrined in the constitution.
“The problem that many people continue to hammer on is that health is on the concurrent legislative list so that the states and local governments can enact laws apart from the federal.
“This clause have usually been used to the detriment of Nigeria citizens, so holistically health is a right to every Nigerian citizen,’’ Obembe said.
He said, for instance, that every citizen has the right to enrol and enjoy any payment made by government to subsidise NHIS services.
According to him, the role of universal health coverage which encapsulate all needed requirement on health services was aimed at ensuring that citizens have right to affordable and qualitative healthcare without any impediment on household expenditure.
Besides, Obembe said that patients have the right to consultation, history taking, examination, diagnosis, investigation, prescription and management.
“As a consultant the patient have the right to know everything about him or her but the only thing is whether he has right to case note which is another thing.
“If a doctor treat patients it is the right of that patient if he or she has medical report, the doctor must oblige him details of what he has done, how to continue management of such ailment, but it is not right to give the patient his or her case note.
“Case note belong to the hospital and it is supposed to be kept there, but if you want your record it could be typed, summarised and handed over to you,’’ Obembe said.
On challenges encountered by patients in hospitals, Obembe urged aggrieved patients to channel their problems to the NMA office closer to them, Medical and Dental Council or the Ministry of Health to seek redress.
“If any patient’s right is been impeded upon he is free to report either to NMA or the council. Such right is there and if it jeopardised there are so many ways you can claim these rights.
“You can even go to court, NMA branch closer to you or the ministry of health, so court can order that the patient’s right should be restored.
“NMA has monitoring unit which include the police, NMA and Director of Medical services in the state they supposed to take care of day to day welfare of patients in the state.
“If at the state level you do not seem to get redress write straight to NMA headquarters in Abuja then we treat it,’’ he said.

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