The patients’ rights charter was officially launched by the government on the 4th of October 2013. This document, although it is not very well known, will impact the health sector greatly and bring about positive change, the kind we need to see in the health sector.
The patients’ rights charter is divided into three parts:
– patients’ rights,
– patient responsibility
– dispute resolution.
Having this charter will ensure that patients all across the country are empowered which will lead to better treatment of patients at both public and private hospitals.
The charter is a small document that gives brief and clear descriptions of the rights that one is entitled to as patient in Kenya.
In the charter, it is noted that during an emergency situation one has the right to receive treatment to stabilize their condition regardless of whether they are able to pay for the service or not. One of the rights that are observed by the charter is the right to complain, it is popularly known that in our hospitals if you complain your treatment will either be stopped or you will receive a rude answer that will shock you. As a patient, you have the right to question your doctor or nurse about the treatment you are receiving. It is also a patients’ right to receive full and accurate information in a language that one understands about their illness, diagnosis and treatment.
Every patient across the country has a right to obtain insurance coverage without discrimination on the basis of age, pregnancy, disability, illness including mental disorders.
Doctors must live by the Hippocratic Oath and it is stated that they must treat every patient’s case with confidentiality; this has also been seconded in the charter because everyone deserves to have their cases treated with confidentiality unless they consent to release the information.
The patients’ right charter might be met with resistance at first but in the end, we as Kenyans will start to reap the benefits of better health care and health care practitioners treating patients with respect and dignity as is deserved.
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