On Sunday 9th of May 2021, social media went agog over two Nigerian women; Peju Ugboma and Omolara Omoyajuwolo who died as a result of the alleged negligence of different private hospitals in Nigeria as many called for reform of the nation’s health sector.
ALEDEH News reported that Peju Ugboma was a Pastry Chef in Lagos State, Southwestern part of the country, who had gone to the Premier Specialist Medical Centre in Victoria Island herself for elective surgery for a fibroid issue but died the third day after she bled internally.
While Omolara who was said to be a call agent at Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), had complained of peptic ulcer pain and died due to alleged negligence by officials of the Beachland Specialist Hospital in Arepo axis of Ogun state, Southwestern part of the country.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), in its reaction, said it is investigating “possible violation of patient and consumer rights” based on the information it has gathered so far on the two cases.
The commission added that it has issued “Notices of Commencement of Investigation and Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons and entities,” and it is working with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in the investigation to determine the extent of possible violation in the cases.
“In both cases, relatives and friends allege mismanagement including failure of professional standards; as well as patient care/customer service standards including timely responses to requests,” the statement read.
“The commission in 2018, in collaboration with multiple healthcare professional associations led by the Nigerian Medical Association, and the Federal Ministry of Health promoted, created, and secured the adoption of the Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR). The rights enshrined therein are provider obligations that otherwise exist in other enforceable instruments/codes governing healthcare delivery.
“Further, and in addition, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) mandates the Commission to enforce “any enactment with respect to the protection of consumers, conduct investigations into matters related to consumer protection; ensure consumer interests receive due consideration, and provide redress to obnoxious practices; ensure service providers comply with local and international standards of safe service delivery” Section 17(a), (e), (s) and (y).
“The commission does not investigate or evaluate conduct to determine professionalism, ethics or violation of professional/ethical codes. The Commission does not make determinations with respect to the professionalism or adopted procedures of qualified and authorised professionals.
“However, the commission investigates and considers whether service providers sufficiently respect rights of consumers and applicable standards of care in compliance with those rights, including providing redress or remedies for injured consumers.
“Initial information gathered is sufficient for the Commission to open an active investigation into these cases. As such, the Commission has today issued Notices of Commencement of Investigation & Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons/entities.
“The Commission is also communicating with the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), to expand engagement to the extent that any pertinent conduct may be otherwise unprofessional and, or may be subject of any disciplinary process (if applicable).”
FCCPC urged the public to provide useful information that will fasten the investigation in order to ensure justice is served.
“Finally, considering the sensitivity of these sad events, and in respect and deference to families/affected persons or reputation of both professionals and facilities, the commission advises candor and restraint in discussions and pronouncements about the occurrence and investigation,” it added.