A baseline study undertaken by the Royal Health Organisation (ROHEO) in partnership with other non-profit organisations has established that the Patient?s Charter, which ascribes the tenets, rights and responsibilities of clients and health service providers remain largely unheeded to in the discharge of services.
Overall assessment proved that 90 percent of 376 respondents sampled in the project area have low knowledge about the Patient Charter (PC).
The PC is a health policy fashioned by the Ghana Health Service in 2002 towards the attainment of optimal client-service provider relations devoid of abuses, discrimination and not based on culture, ethnicity, religion, age or physical stature.
The two-year project dubbed, ?Mobilising Grassroots Level Participation for Effective Implementation of the Patient Charter for the Vulnerable in Society including People With Disability (PWD) and Rural Women in the Volta Region? seeks to shore up advocacy in relation to the content of the Patient?s Charter (PC).
The project, which had begun in five districts in the Volta region, namely, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Krachi East, Nkwanta South and Nkwanta North with funding from STAR-Ghana and its donor partners including DFID, EU, DANIDA and USAID is worth $150,000.
The overall objective is to stem discrimination and abuses suffered by clients at health facilities and increase hospital attendance rate of PWDs, women within the reproductive age and especially, in Muslim communities.
Mr Joe Soglo, Executive Director of ROHEO said 219 representing 98.9 percent of respondents sampled out of 226 figure had little or no knowledge about the PC in the target area with 16 out of 22 health facilities not client friendly especially to PWDs and pregnant women.
He said eight out of the 22 facilities visited in the catchment area had the PC but only three including the Pentecost clinic at Kpassa, New Baika Health Centre and maternity ward of the Kadjebi Health Centre actually displayed the Charter.
Mr Soglo expects to contribute to the improvement of safety standards and practices including transparency and social accountability in healthcare service delivery as enshrined in the Charter.
He said the project would create awareness on other health policies including quality assurance, code of ethics, Millennium Accelerated Framework for PWDs and the marginalised women as well as effectively engage all health staff in line of duty to remain professional.
The Executive Director said questionnaire and observatory methodology was used for the study.
Mr Robert Adatsi, Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health, in-charge of Public Health commended ROHEO for the positive collaboration and their resolve to stepping up advocacy on the PC for efficient client-service provider relationships.
He conceded that the general attitude to the tenets in the PC is not the best but pledged with support from civil society groups, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the media and other stakeholders, the contents would be transcribed into the local languages for easy reading and understanding.
Mr Dei Kukubor, Jasikan District Coordinating Director said the project was conscious awakening that would bring sanity between patients and service providers insisting ?citizens whose rights are violated should report such incidences but until they know their rights and responsibilities this will elude them.?
Nana Aboagye IV, Jasihene of Jasikan, advised that the project be extended to faith-based organizations for greater impact and acceptance.
He noted many non-governmental organizations have suffered credibility problems and hoped that ROHEO and its partners would pass the test and move this concept to the next level.
The project intends to shore up attendance by 20 percent of the target group in the first year of implementation and a third more of service providers getting accustomed to the tenets of the PC for effective relationships at the facilities.
By the second year, it is expected that 30 percent clients would seek early treatment of health problems with attitudes no longer an impediment for healthcare delivery.
Local partners of the project are the Voice of People With Disability Ghana (VOICE Ghana), Global Action for Women Empowerment (GLOWA) and Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service and District Assemblies in the catchment area.
The study was outdoored at a press soiree organised by ROHEO.