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Your rights as a patient in The Gambia

May 10, 2011, 2:43 PM | Article By: DR AZADEH

Dr Hassan Azadeh Senior Lecturer at Medical school  University of the Gambia is focussing on patient's rights at this week issue

Dr Azadeh what are our rights as a patient here in The Gambia 

The World Health Organisation  formalized patient's right in 1948,  Universal Declaration of Human Right recognise the inherent dignity" and the "equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family". And it is on the basis of this concept of the person, and the fundamental dignity and equality of all human beings, that the notion of patient rights was developed. In other words, what is owed to the patient as a human being, by physicians and by the state, took shape in large part thanks to this understanding of the basic rights of the person.

Patients' rights vary in different countries and in different jurisdictions, often depending upon prevailing cultural and social norms. Different models of the patient-physician relationship - which can also represent the citizen-state relationship - have been developed, and these have informed the particular rights to which patients are entitled. In North America and Europe, for instance, there are at least four models which depict this relationship: the paternalistic model, the informative model, the interpretive model, and the deliberative model. Each of these suggests different professional obligations of the physician toward the patient. For instance, in the paternalistic model, the best interests of the patient as judged by the clinical expert are valued above the provision of comprehensive medical information and decision-making power to the patient. The informative model, by contrast, sees the patient as a consumer who is in the best position to judge what is in her own interest, and thus views the doctor as chiefly a provider of information. There continues to be enormous debate about how best to conceive of this relationship, but there is also growing international consensus that all patients have a fundamental right to privacy, to the confidentiality of their medical information, to consent to or to refuse treatment, and to be informed about relevant risk to them of medical procedures.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been instrumental in enshrining the notion of human dignity in international law, providing a legal and moral grounding for improved standards of care on the basis of our basic responsibilities towards each other as members of the "human family", and giving important guidance on critical social, legal and ethical issues. But there remains a great deal of work to be done to clarify the relationship between human rights and right to health, including patient rights. Recognizing this challenge, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) has designated a Special Rapporteur to provide it with a report that examines and clarifies the broader relationship between human rights and the right to health. This report has great importance for the World Health Organization, whose mission is to ensure “health for all”. Grounding this mission in a fundamental human right to health would be an important milestone, and a great step forward realizing this goal.

Right to choose:

The right to choose involves patient to choose where to go and been given the choice to select the health providers from whom they want to  receive health services without being manipulated by individuals or institutions

Right to access:

The right to access implies that health services are available and accessible to any individual in need.

Right to information:

The purpose that the patient receive information on health education and preventable diseases in particular form is to prevent life threatening diseases such as HIV, AIDS .

Right to dignity:

The patient right to dignity refers to the way the patient is treated, normally with full respect and considerations without discrimination against, male, female, age, ethnic or tribal origin, religious believes, and skin colour.

Right to confidentiality:

Implies assuring that any information that patient shares with any doctor or nurse at any health facility will not be accessible to any unauthorised doctor and nurse.

Right to privacy:

Exchange of information between patient and health providers should occur in an environment where consultation will not be shared/heard by a third party without patient's consent.
Right to comfort:

The right to comfort refers to physical and environmental facilities and examination during visit.

Right to safety:

Refers to patient’s protection against possible side effects of medications, including physical and mental conditions.

Right to continuity of care:

The right to continuity of care implies that patients receive services and supplies of medication, laboratory tests and resupply of mediations.

Right to Understand:

The right to understand refers to the patient’s right to be fully aware of the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis using words the patient can reasonably understand. If needed, efforts to provide interpreter most be taking.

Right to refuse treatment:

Patient has the right to refuse treatment to the limits permitted by law. The patient has the right to refuse the treatment if it is known to the patient that the treatment chosen is a life threatening.


Further information please call DR AZADEH on 7774469/3774469