Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has launched the Patient Bill of Rights which he said is a significant contribution in establishing one of the most important rights of all humanity: the right to life in which inheres the right to adequate healthcare.
Speaking at the ceremony at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, he said the initiative was to set and commit to a new standard that both acknowledges and commits to uphold some of the most fundamental principles of our common humanity.
Vice President Osinbajo noted that the deference to the supremacy of human dignity is the responsibility not only of medical personnel, but everyone in the healthcare value chain: government, regulators, insurers, administrators, family and/or primary caregivers, and even the final consumer.
According to him, mutual respect helps ensure that interactions build confidence, enhance care and improve outcomes.
Osinbajo stated that the Patient Bill of Rights is a remarkable effort at consensus and common purpose, in the face of the many challenges of our health care system in Nigeria.
He added: “It cuts out the noise and distractions, and focuses on what is truly most important: putting people first. It serves as a code of accountability, constantly reminding us of the primary purpose of the healthcare system, and of the obligations of every player and stakeholder in that system. It helps clarify consumers’ expectations of providers and the providers’ responsibilities to consumers.
“In terms of policy and funding, we, as a government, are acutely aware of the challenges of Nigeria’s health sector. And that is why we are single-mindedly pursuing the attainment of Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians.”
Vice President Osinbajo observed that the Patient Bill of Rights is a very timely complement to these policy and funding interventions.
According to Osinbajo, “it will ensure that the increasing funding that is coming into healthcare in Nigeria translates into a direct improvement in the quality of the final output at what one might call the ‘last mile’ phase of healthcare delivery, the very personal arena of interaction between health personnel and the beneficiaries of the healthcare.”
He further said: “Indeed, health care is not merely about what we, as government put into it in terms of funding, equipment and so on; it is also about what the patient perceives that he or she is getting out of it. I would, in fact, argue that the latter may matter more than the former.”
Osinbajo affirmed that government’s aim is to develop a standard worthy of emulation, by ensuring strict compliance with and the enforcement of the Patient Bill.