Make treatment of defilement mandatory under NHIS – Lawyer

By Albert Futukpor, GNA

Tamale, Aug 14,
GNA – The government has been urged to make it mandatory for all hospitals to
use the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to treat victims of crime
particularly children and women who become victims of defilement, rape and
other forms of assault.

Mr Issah
Mahmudu, Northern Regional Director of the Legal Aid Commission, who made the
call, said this would ensure that such victims, no matter their financial
conditions, would have access to medical treatment and medical reports to be
used to seek justice at the law courts.

He made the
call in Tamale on Tuesday when facilitating a training programme for selected
police personnel drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to
build their capacity to promote and protect the rights of children.

The training
was organised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) as part of its Justice for
Children project, dubbed “Justice for Children: Bridging the gap between
Legislation and Practice”, which is being implemented with support from the
European Union.

The project
aims to bridge the gap between legislation and practice within the broad
outlook of the country’s justice for children system by ensuring that children
in conflict and in contact with the law are adequately protected and their
rights promoted through targeted interventions including policy and legislative
reforms as well as enhanced service delivery.

Mr Mahmudu said
the current situation where victims of such crimes were made to pay medical
officers to treat and endorse police medical forms for them was hindering
victims’ access to health care and justice at the courts.

Currently if a
child is defiled or assaulted or any person is assaulted, they have to get a
medical form from the Police and send it to the hospital for treatment and a
medical report to be issued to confirm the assault or the crime.

However, the
hospitals demand instant payment before treating and issuing of medical reports
to the victims, a situation, which deprives victims, who cannot pay for such
reports the right to treatment and medical reports, which were crucial for
seeking redress at the law courts.

Mr Mahmudu said
“I don’t think that because of money, people’s health and their need for
justice should be hindered because they are not able to pay for a medical
officer to examine them and endorse the medical form”.

He emphasised
that “I think the lives of the victims and the injuries that they sustain
should be of paramount interest and not cash-and-carry, pay and then we examine
you and give you the report, if you do not pay, we will not examine you and we
do not give you the report. It is inhuman”.

He also called
for an extensive training for police personnel to better understand their job
to respect the rights of juveniles, who came into contact and conflict with the
law.

Mr Robert
Tettey Nomo Jr, Project Officer at LRC, said police personnel were key in
juvenile rights protection hence the training to help uphold the rights of
children when enforcing the laws.

He said as part
of the project, the LRC had so far trained prisons officers, judicial staff,
and some paralegals, adding that, personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service
would also be trained to help improve the situation for child offenders.

Some
participants lauded the initiative saying it had updated their knowledge
regarding respecting the rights and protecting the interest of children when
enforcing the laws.

GNA

Loading...