Following incessant violations of the rights of patients in treatment centres in some parts of the country, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday released a set of standard minimum guidelines to protect the rights of COVID-19 patients in treatment centres.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, who disclosed this while addressing a press conference in Abuja said, in some cases, the violations of the rights of patients of the COVID -19 resulted into protests and abscondment of patients from the treatment centres.
He said the Commission deemed it fit to issue the set of guidelines in order to ensure that the basic rights of patients are guaranteed and protected.
While commending governments and health authorities at federal and state levels for the efforts already made to put facilities in place at the centres as well as other palliatives, Ojukwu urged them to, “Study and put mechanisms in place to implement the standard minimum guidelines”.
The NHRC boss also noted that patients whose rights have been violated will have the option of seeking redress before the Commission or in courts of law as provided by the Constitution.
Ojukwu said the guidelines were issued in line with the mandate of the Commission to protect and promote human rights in accordance with its establishment Act.
He said Section 5(1) of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010 mandated the Commission to, “Prepare and Publish, in such manner as the Commission considers appropriate, guidelines for the avoidance of acts or practices with respect to the function and powers of the Commission under this Act”.
According to Ojukwu, “Persons who have tested positive to COVID-19 and placed in treatment centres are in extreme vulnerable situations and their human rights to life, health and personal dignity should be of paramount concern and a major responsibility of the state”.
He further stated that “The guidelines have been designed to reflect the physical, emotional and mental needs of COVID-19 patients and have provided a basis for the protection of the rights of every patient without any form of bias or discrimination, including vulnerable persons such as children, persons with disabilities and older persons”.
Other major highlights of the guidelines are the protection of medical personnel and staff if the treatment centres, persons in intensive care units and participation of patients in clinical or during trials.