NHRC Releases Guidelines for Protection of COVID-19 Patients

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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.

NHRC Executive Secretary, Mr Tony Ojukwu, who released the guidelines during a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said the move became necessary in view of alleged violations of the rights of patients in treatment centres in some parts of the country

He said in some cases, the violations of the rights of patients of the COVID -19 resulted in protests and abscondment of patients from the treatment centres.

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“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,” he said.

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.

” Governments have set up centres across Nigeria where COVID-19 patients are treated by medical personnel and other staff.

” As a result of the contagious nature of the virus,  extreme care must be taken to secure the human rights of the patients in the Centres.

” The guidelines are aimed at ensuring that the Centres operate in line with international human rights norms and to secure the rights of the patients,  medical personnel and support staff.

” It is also important that vulnerable groups such as children, persons with disabilities older persons and women are treated with the dignity and protection accorded their status,” he said.

Ojukwu said that the guidelines were made pursuant to section 5 (a)(d)(I) and 6 (g) of the NHRC Act.

The NHRC’s chief said that guidelines were composed of the rights of life, health,  dignity,  privacy,  religion and protection against discrimination.

” It also contains provisions aimed at ensuring access to adequate accommodation, food,  water and sanitation by patients at treatment centres and facilities (hereinafter referred to as the Centres ) in Nigeria” he stated.

Ojukwu, who urged governments to implement the guidelines, added that the guidelines would be useful to the public and private centres and other facilities were  COVID-19 patients were being treated.

” The rights and guarantees enunciated in the guidelines apply to any patient or persons who have suffered violations in accordance with the Constitution.

” The Commission when requested shall provide technical support in designing the systems and frameworks for implementation of the guidelines.

” It shall also monitor,  investigate, enforce and issue periodic reports on the implementation of the guidelines,” he said.

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