Courtesy Visit To Medical And Dental Council Of Nigeria.

CRH paid a courtesy visit to Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) on the 11th of May 2016 at 10am. The CRH team consisting of Executive Director, Dr Stella Iwuagwu (Executive Director for Centre for the Right Health), Mr Bede Eziefule (Director for programmes for Centre for the Right to Health), Vanessa Nwanguma-Anugwa (Human resource manager for Centre for the Right to Health) and Adeyemo Bolanle A (Program Officer for Centre for the Right to Health) were well received by Dr. A. A. Ibrahim (Registrar for MDCN), Mr.G.O. Oladokun (Ag. Head Admin), T.B Shaba (Legal adviser) and Dr. E.D Abdu (Assistant Registrar {P.D})

The objective of the visit is for CRH to explain further on the project’s objectives, to know the functions of MDCN in regards to patients’ right violation in public hospital settings, cases they have handled in the past, to know the redress pathways and guidelines in place to seek redress in case of violation and disciplinary action taken against careless or negligent health workers and requesting the registrar to grant an interview in which he will give broad explanation of the responsibilities of the council in regulating the activities of medical practitioner in Nigeria.

Highlights of the meeting

Dr. Stella Iwuagwu gave background of the organization and the mission and vision of CRH. She also discussed about the project “accountability for patients’ rights and respectful maternity care in Nigeria”. She talked about patients’ right violation is taking place in almost all the hospitals in Nigeria and how a lot of Nigerians have lost faith in the system. She gave instances of different violation people have suffered in the hand of health workers and even her ordeal too when she had an accident. Also, she suggested that all stakeholders need to change the status quo and make provision for management numbers or hotline that people can call or report cases of violations. There should be a process of developing complaints procedures among the medical regulatory bodies that people will be aware of.
The registrar addressed the CRH team by appreciating their effort in ensuring accountability for patients’ rights in our hospital settings in Nigeria. He said the council is ready to work with CRH and are ready give free information especially in the era of freedom of information.
Dr Abdu who is medical doctor and very versed in medical law also talked how patients’ rights are being violated in the hospital setting. He acknowledged the fact that there are so many unreported cases of violations perpetrated by health workers in our hospitals in Nigeria. Also, he said patient’s right is stated in the Nigerian constitutions and there is stipulated punishment for erring health workers. In furtherance, he said a person who feels his rights have been deprived in the hospital can go to the professional regulatory body of the health worker to complain like: Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Nursing and Midwives council of Nigeria, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria. Unfortunately, a lot of Nigerians are not aware of their rights and Nigeria is a country in which doctors are not accountable to their patients as against what is obtainable in America.
He highlighted process of complaints if a patient’s right is violated:

 Administrative process which involve complaining to the management of the hospital.
 Civil case in which you get a lawyer to litigate on the person’s behalf.
 Criminal Law: When there is evidence of criminal negligence by the health worker, unfortunately nobody has ever been persecuted in the past in Nigeria.
 Professional discipline: the case of violation can be reported to the council and if the disciplinary unit of the council feels the doctor act is so bad that has spoilt the reputation of the profession then necessary action might be taken against such person. The highest punishment that can be meted against a member is to remove the name of the person from the list of her members which would be publicized on the national newspapers.

He also pinpointed the major shortcoming to why there are still a lot of patients’ right violations in the hospital which are:

 People don’t report when their right has been violated.
 People that report it is always difficult to reach the conclusion of the case because the government changes every four years. These make the cases to linger on for a long time. There are cases that are pending because of the change of administration which affects the process of punishing erring health workers.
Awareness level is very low among the populace despite the concerted effort by the council to always educate doctors during their induction on ethics and best practice. However, we still have dearth of information among the masses.
Outcomes of the meeting
The council is ready to participate in the interview and a date has been schedule for the meeting.
The legal adviser is ready to join the Legal team a project advisory board sub-committee member.
The legal adviser is also ready to give technical assistance to legal consultant on getting materials and past cases that have been handled by council.
Dr. Abdu is ready to support the legal team to provide legal framework on the project and to give technical insight on how lawyers can handle cases of patients’ right violation.
The council is ready to support the organization in achieving accountability for patients’ right. CRH can refer any cases of violation perpetrated by medical practitioner to the council for disciplinary action.


The meeting ended at 2.20PM and there was a little chitchat after the meeting.

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