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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


Source: GNA Story (https://ghananewsagency.org/social/make-treatment-of-defilement-mandatory-under-nhis-lawyer-154597)
Published: 2019-08-14 13:38:15
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