A renowned health rights activist George Jobe has supported Government position on the requirement for a police report before accessing medical assistance and health care saying it will bring sanity to the health system.
A letter from the Ministry of Health signed by Secretary for Health Dr Charles Mwansambo observed that the practice by some health facilities demanding a police report first before treating victims of assault, accident or any other injuries is not in line with the law.
Through the letter which has been addressed to hospital directors and directors of health and social welfare services, the ministry says the right to access a medical practitioner or health care is a right of every person, even persons who have criminal allegations or are convicts.
“Every sick or injured person is entitled to access health care regardless of the circumstances that lead to the injury or sickness hence discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited.
“Also noteworthy is that even in situations where there is an obligation to report to the police like in cases of road accidents, the law does not require that the person reports or obtains a police report first before accessing medical attention: the law simply gives the person who is duty bound to report to police within a maximum period of 48 hours,” reads the letter.
Jobe, who is Executive Director of the Malawi Health Equity Network said this directive will bring sanity and clear misunderstandings and also save lives that could have been lost due to delayed medical attention in extreme cases.
“Misunderstandings sorrounding the requirements of a police report has led to disabilities of some people because of delayed treatment at health facilities and some might have even lost lives.
“It will be important for the ministry to also publicize this information and encourage citizens to be reporting in case they go to any health facility and have not been duly treated in times of need,” said Jobe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :