CHELD was established in 2010 to address the minimal use and employment of existing legislation, lack of knowledge about, and inadequate implementation of existing policies on health, as well as clear absence of needed policy directions in certain critical areas. Nigeria’s track record on basic health issues such as women’s health (maternal mortality) and child health (child mortality) remain abysmal. While health concerns such as HIV have received some much needed attention, other issues such as mental health reform have been more or less ignored, as evidenced by our current outdated legislation. Issues of sanitation are in sore need of positive action. Nigeria’s record on patient safety continues to be appalling.
At CHELD, we plan to employ law to achieve an improvement in public health objectives. Amongst other things, we plan to engage in law and policy development, reform and implementation, including in the areas of non-communicable diseases (such as cancer) and also mental health. We also plan to promote patients’ rights, principally through education. We believe that knowledge of the law will help improve patients’ rights in Nigeria. It will strengthen the ability of patients to question and challenge inappropriate and illegal treatment. But it is also useful for doctors to know their responsibilities under the law and what may constitute illegal or unethical behaviour. We believe that appropriate training in patient safety systems that have been implemented elsewhere, with a clear understanding of our context, will help health professionals to minimise medical errors, examples of which are rampant in both public and private medical establishments.
Currently, the National Health Bill, a document which would clearly outline the responsibilities of the different levels of government in the health system and provide a legal basis for the functioning of the health system, and which also provides for the rights of patients and the responsibilities of health providers, is still awaiting assent by the President. This Bill has been within the legislative process for about nine years, passing through the past two governments without enactment. Continued advocacy in this direction is therefore crucial, an activity in which CHELD plans to participate in very actively.
Beyond law and policy reform and implementation, CHELD is also concerned with providing sorely needed research on different health matters in the country. We plan to serve as a think-tank, using the expertise of members of our technical team, including lawyers, economists, and health professionals.
Finally, we plan to undertake practical development projects. The need seems vast, from general public ignorance of ways to improve health, to the economic inequities, and the vacuum in general health insurance coverage which has resulted in such problems as abandonment of patients, including children, at hospitals, to children suffering disability from polio in the 21st century! There is much to be done. CHELD desires to join other development organisations in providing solutions and moving Nigeria to better health outcomes.
If you would like to partner with us or have any form of contribution to make towards our goals, please check the Contact Us page. We would love to hear from you. We welcome you to our site and appreciate any contributions that you would like to make to achieving a better, more healthy, more health- conscious Nigeria.