Poor attitude of Health Professionals affects Patients’ Rights – Mukaila

. Mr Adamu Mukaila, Civil Society Advisor of SEND Ghana, has said that poor
attitude of health professionals contributes to some patients being maltreated
and disregarded of their rights in the country.

He explained that
discrimination and stigmatization against vulnerable groups including (Key
Populations) KPs, women, and youth, weak capacity of CSOs and CBOs to demand
accountability for quality service delivery, lack of awareness on Patients’
Rights contributed to the abuse of rights of some patients.

“If civil society is
strengthened in a way that increases citizen input into Ghana’s health and HIV
development process, then Ghana’s health system will be more participatory and
responsive to the needs of the beneficiary population and our interventions
will work towards achieving USAID goal of Equitable Improvements in Health

Mr Mukaila said this
at a two-day workshop on the USAID funded People for Health (P4H) Project
organised by the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

The five-year P4H
Project-March 2016- March 2021 would ensure improved access to quality health
service delivery for citizens in 20 districts selected from four regions-
Greater Accra, Eastern, Northern and Volta Regions.

It also seeks to
strengthen organisational and institutional capacities of government and civil
society organisations (CSOs) for mutual accountability in health, HIV, water,
sanitation and hygiene, family planning and nutrition policy formulation and

The project- being
implemented by a consortium of three organisations led by SEND-Ghana, a
non-governmental organisation (NGO), with Penplusbytes another NGO and the
Ghana News Agency as partners, thrives for leverage opportunities for change,
building on consortium members’ existing good relations with local governments,
District Health Management Teams and the USAID ongoing initiatives in the
health sector.

Mr Muakaila mentioned
service standards and key policy and programs, social cultural practices that
create conditions for stigmatization and discrimination against vulnerable
groups especially KPs as some of the factors that make it difficult for
vulnerable groups to access key health services, especially in the rural areas.

He explained that
there were numerous challenges affecting healthcare delivery in Ghana, which
needed timely interventions to revert the situation, adding that Ghana was yet
to comply with the Abuja Declaration.

He said there was the
need for West African governments to comply with the Abuja Declaration and
spend a minimum of 15 per cent of their annual budgetary resources on the
health sector.

Mr Mukaila envisaged
that by the end of the project a critical mass of CSOs and communities in the
targeted districts would have advocated for inclusive and improved access to
health care.

Mr George Osei-Bimpeh,
Country Director of SEND-Ghana, expressed satisfaction with the partnership so
far, and pledged further support to facilitate the successful implementation of
the project.

He urged the media to
intensify and sustain their advocacy and sensitisation role for the protection
of human rights in all spheres of life and called for coordinated effort to
ensure a successful health care delivery system.

Mr Kwabena Tarbiri of
Penplusbytes who took participants through the Dashboard developed for the
project, said his outfit was training health service providers, citizens and
key populations including people living with HIV and AIDS to use a technology
platform to engage and send feedback to each other about access to and quality
of health services.

The platform developed
for the project would provide and share information on maternal and child
health, family planning, reproductive health, malaria, water, sanitation and
hygiene, nutrition and HIV/AIDS health service delivery at the district,
regional and national levels.

It is also to provide
a non-human interface means of reporting cases of stigmatization and
discrimination in receiving proper health care especially among key populations
and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Mr Tabiri noted that
the platform secured the anonymity of users whilst reporting cases; how it
engages users and provided time-tested means of getting useful feedback and
action for improved health services from the appropriate sources.

“The technology is
user friendly and it is basic enough for every citizen to use with ease,” he

Penplusbytes in
partnership with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
(CHRAJ) will appraise an existing online platform for reporting stigma and discrimination
against people living with HIV/AIDS and Key Populations (KPs) who include guys,
lesbians and prostitutes.

Mrs Linda
Asante-Agyei, P4H Project Manager for the Ghana News Agency who took
participants through the role of the Agency and Media and Communication
Advocacy Network (MCAN) on the project said journalists would effectively and
consistently investigate and disseminate stories that would help KPs, and
Persons Living with HIV and AIDs advocate and demand for effective health
service delivery.

She explained that GNA
reporters and MCAN members in the implementing districts would work closely
with District Citizens Monitoring Committees to identify issues, monitor
commitments and compliance with service, standards by the necessary health
authorities and report on them.

She urged participants
to be well equipped enough to identify the issues in the communities, report on
them and ensure that “our stories hold government accountable and at the same time
citizens become conversant with the Patients Charter and the Code of Ethics to
enable people demand what is rightfully due them”. 


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