Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management, Business School, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Background Health is a basic human right necessary for the exercise of other human rights. Every human being is, therefore, entitled to the highest possible standard of health necessary to living a life of dignity. Establishment of patients’ Charter is a step towards protecting the rights and responsibilities of patients, but violation of patients’ rights is common in healthcare institutions, especially in the developing world. This study which was conducted between May 2013 and May 2014, assessed the operationalization of Ghana’s Patients Charter in a peri-urban public hospital.
Methods Qualitative data collection methods were used to collect data from 25 healthcare workers and patients who were purposively selected. The interview data were analyzed manually, using the principles of systematic text condensation.
Results The findings indicate that the healthcare staff of the Polyclinic are aware of the existence of the patients’ Charter and also know some of its contents. Patients have no knowledge of the existence or the contents of the Charter. Availability of the Charter, community sensitization, monitoring and orientation of staff are factors that promote the operationalization of the Charter, while institutional implementation procedures such as lack of complaint procedures and low knowledge among patients militate against operationalization of the Charter.
Conclusion Public health facilities should ensure that their patients are well-informed about their rights and responsibilities to facilitate effective implementation of the Charter. Also, patients’ rights and responsibilities can be dramatized and broadcasted on television and radio in major Ghanaian languages to enhance awareness of Ghanaians on the Charter.
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