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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-104

Patients' rights in an underserved Nigerian environment: A cross-sectional study of attitude and practice orientation of medical professionals in Abia State


1 Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria
2 Department of Public Health, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gabriel Uche Pascal Iloh
Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_20_17

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BACKGROUND: Globally, medical care have an age long history, but the rights of patients are more recent and occupy front burner in the quality of care metrics and medical jurisprudence and are on the rise, particularly in emerging and developing economies. AIM: The study was aimed at describing the attitude and practice of patients' rights among medical professionals in Abia State, Nigeria. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A descriptive study was carried out on a cross-section of 185 medical practitioners in Abia State, Nigeria. Data collection was done using pretested, self-administered questionnaire that elicits information on awareness, attitude, and practice of basic patients' rights. Each item of attitude and practice of patients' rights was scored on a five-point Likert scale ordinal responses of all-times, most-times, sometimes, rarely, and none. Attitude and practice of patient's rights were assessed in the previous 1 year. RESULTS: The age of the participants ranged from 28 to 71 years. There were 166 males and 19 females. All the participants were aware of the patient's rights. The overall positive attitude to patients' rights was 87.3% with the most common positive attitudinal orientation being right to confidentiality (100.0%), and the least was right to know the identity/professional status of the physician (52.4%). The overall practice of patient rights was 85.8% with the most commonly practiced being right to confidentiality (100.0%) and the least was right to know the identity/professional status of the physician (51.4%). Attitude (P = 0.037) and practice (P = 0.048) of the right to know the identity/professional status of the physician were significantly associated with >10 years of medical practice. CONCLUSION: The level of awareness of patient's rights was very high but did not translate to comparative overall positive attitude and practice orientation. Patient rights should be the focus of intensive continuing medical education and professional development in addition to greater administrative and governmental support, especially in developing economies where there are limited options to safeguard patients' rights.


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