Nigeria is set to interpret the recently launched Patients Bill of Right into its three major indigenous languages and pidin English.
The move would enable citizens to understand their rights and help them seek redress when such rights are abused.
Essence of Bill
In an interview with Voice of Nigeria in Abuja, the Director General Consumer Protection Council, CPC, Barrister Babatunde Irukera said the essence of the bill was to address issues of incessant abuse of patients in accessing heath care.
“The Patients Bill of Rights is an aggregation of all the rights patients and other instruments, they are all in one law or the other but we brought them together as a document to educate patients about this rights so that they can demand and insist on those rights and also educate health care professionals about the rights of Patients so that they can now begin to respect those rights,” he explained.
Irukera stated that the agency has an enforcement mechanism that would increase performance of the bill as the Council was already collaborating with professional bodies in the heath sector.
“We have an enforcement mechanism around it which is to hold all the professional regulatory authority accountable to ensure that they are enforcing the regulation and providing the discipline necessary when their professionals violates their ethical standards. I think in that space of people demanding for their rights comes some respects for it and in the space of penalising those who violate those rights would modify behaviour.
“On of the things we are doing is that we are interpreting the Patients Bill of Rightsl into multiple languages: 3 Nigerian languages and pigin English, we are also writing guidelines to make sure that hospitals are pasting those things at their locations so that people can read and understand that, but more then that we are working with professional Associations so that they can train their members to recognise the responsibilities they have to at least inform patients of their rights and respect the rights also,” Irukera stressed.
On the activities of the Council since assumption of office, Irukera said the CPC’s scope of activities have grown and citizen were becoming aware of the rights.
“We are doing a lot more in enforcing consumer education initiation. From the visibility stand point, I think many consumers now know lot more about Consumer Protection Council, CPC and many operators also know about the CPC and respect the organisation…We have collaboration with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON…We are about to open a mutual investigation with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and we are negotiating an MoU with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and also concluding another with National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA,” the CPC Director said.
Irukera also reiterated commitment to ensure that citizens get a fairer deal to reduce right abuse.
“One of the things I always say all the time is that the consumer space is very bad, consumers have been poorly abused in Nigeria. But I think that in the period that I’ve been here, consumers feel better, they know that at least there’s someone they can go to and I think companies recognise that and so they are getting a better deal now,” he said.
The bill to amend the enabling act establishing the Council is still at the National Assembly and would be sent to the executive for assent soon.