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Indian Express
23, February 2010

HEALTH activists of Jan Arogya Abhiyan on Tuesday urged the National Human Rights Commission to treat patients’ rights as human rights. Speaking on the sidelines of the state–level consultation on patients’ rights in hospitals in Maharashtra, NHRC member P C Sharma welcomed the joint charter of patients’ rights and responsibilities prepared by the civil society and doctors’ organisations.

After repeated attempts to make the draft Bombay Nursing Homes Regulation Act 2007 into a law by persuading successive state health ministers, health activists of Jan Arogya Abhiyan (JAA) presented the joint charter to the NHRC.

“The draft was prepared in 2007 but health ministers did not approve it for various reasons,” said Dr Anant Phadke, a health activist. The draft mentions the minimum standards that need to be followed by small clinics, nursing homes and private hospitals. It urges all clinics to have indicative rate cars, sterilised environment etc. “Several hospitals in the city are not even issuing discharge cards to patients,” said Dr Phadke.

“Many patients are not aware of their rights. They are not even carrying income proof and medical reports,” said Nisreen Ebrahim of Rangunwala Foundation. “A lot of HIV positive patients are facing discrimination. They are denied medical treatment,” said Phadke.

“Since the government is not taking BNHRA seriously, we are seeking for voluntary participation from doctors. The idea is to gather support from doctors’ community in each district and persuade them to put up posters on patients rights,” said Dr Phadke.

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