Launch Of The Second Phase Of The Campaign For A Communal Drafting Of A Patient Rights Charter
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and its partners in the patients’ rights project announce the beginning of phase two of the project: the community-wide drafting of a patients’ rights charter in Egypt.
The importance of the campaign was comes from the lack of any unified, binding legal document clearly enumerating the rights of those receiving health services in Egypt. Despite ever more frequent cases of medical neglect, ongoing violations of patients’ rights, and the danger this represents to the health and lives of millions of Egyptians and their families, regardless of income, age, or residence, there is no instrument obligating compliance with these rights by the state and private and public health service providers or permitting those harmed from obtaining adequate compensation. This undermines the rights of millions of Egyptians on a daily basis and precludes the possibility of holding those who violate these rights to account. It also puts service providers in a difficult position and threatens their professional future every day.
This is where the campaign comes in, promoting a charter written by the people, in which they define the basic rights that health service providers must guarantee for all and which the state must uphold for every person in the country.
The rights of patients or health service beneficiaries are protected all over the world in laws or binding documents, both local and international. The health system is founded on the basis of these rights, which constitute the foundation of the social pact between service beneficiaries and providers. But Egypt lacks this type of document; patients’ rights are only enumerated in non-binding, ineffective ethics codes that lack popular support or mechanisms for implementation. The first step, then, is writing a communal document that defines the rights of patients and the duties of service providers, with the goal of obligating compliance by medical service providers and adopting laws to ensure enforcement.
In December 2013, the first phase of the campaign was launched by the EIPR in conjunction with Manifesto Masr, the Egyptian Medical Students’ Association (EMSA), the Masr al-Hurriya party, and the Egyptian Association to Support Cancer Patients. Campaign volunteers at this stage canvassed citizens through more than 300 focus groups and discussion sessions across the country, as well as by recording participants’ views through various social media. Volunteers with social institutions, movements, and initiatives concerned with Egyptians’ health played a major role in posing ideas and discussing them with citizens of all ages, educational and income levels, and places of residence, with the goal of translating these aspirations into a comprehensive document of the fundamental rights of Egyptian patients.
The campaign collected these opinions and summarized them into 30 proposed rights that reflect the aspirations of a diverse citizenry. After canvassing opinions using qualitative methods of information collection, the campaign now moves into the second phase of social action, which seeks to set citizens’ priorities and, using simpler qualitative tools, involve them in the drafting of the final manifesto of patient rights.
EIPR urges all interested parties to participate in drafting this document by visiting the website (www.egyptianpatient.org). Visitors will set priorities by evaluating the proposed document in just five minutes.
The campaign seeks to canvass the larges possible number of Egyptians before December 11 to allow us to draft the final document and then lobby decision makers to adopt and comply with it.
The campaign also urges all organizations, associations, and agencies concerned with citizens’ health and rights to spread this appeal and join the campaign team. This will enable us to include as many participants as possible in the drafting of the document, so that is can reflect all our aspirations and realize our hopes.
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