The National Human Rights Commission has issued a guideline to end stigmatisation against COVID-19 patients in Nigeria.

There have been several cases of violations of the rights of patients admitted in various centres by health officials and government authorities leading to protest in some states.

The commission said the guidelines was aimed at ensuring the application of international and national human rights standards in the treatment and care of the patients.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, disclosed this at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja. 

The commission added that no patient would be forcefully taken away to treatment centre or any other location or be subjected to physical restraints of any sort during transportation or for the purpose of testing or treatment.

He said, “No patient shall be stigmatised for reason of being positive to COVID-19 or on account of suffering from other diseases, ailment, or any other condition whatsoever. 

“Medical and healthcare professionals at the centres shall not stigmatise, neglect, abandon or maltreat patients in their care."

Ojukwu directed government officials and the public to desist from making reference to the centres as "isolation centres' rather than 'treatment centres' with a view to eliminating and boost the confidence and psychological standings of patients.

The new guideline also stated that any person, who tested positive for COVID-19 shall be entitled to a prompt notification of the result of such test not more than 24 hours after the said test. 

Ojukwu  said, “No patient shall be subjected to discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, tribe, state of origin, nationality, religion, social status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, political affiliation, or any other grounds as provided for by the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as the constitution).”

He added that the commission would work with state and non-state actors to implement advocacy and campaigns aimed at educating the public and creating awareness against stigma and discrimination of COVID-19 patients or survivors.

 

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