Thursday, January 14, 2010

Medical Report: Private document?

Section 14 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the following:
a. Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom the government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority;
b. The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government; and
c. The participation by their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.
Section 17 (2) (c) provides that governmental actions shall be humane.

I am sure you are wondering where I am going with my preamble.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) told us, the Nigerian People, that we are not entitled access to the president’s medical report as it is a private document.

I am going to divorce sentiments from reality and tackle his misstatement head-on.
The above sections I have quoted show that even if there are no express provisions for the president to disclose his ‘private’ issues, he is bound to ensure that he is accountable to the people at all times as we possess sovereignty.

I wonder why section 140 of the same constitution provides for the declaration of the assets and liabilities of the president and there is nothing I can find on declaration of health status. (Remember the president is to show that he is of sound mind so I wonder how that would be shown without a medical report).

In my mind, if the government is to make sure that its actions toward the people who hold sovereign power are humane, I wonder if it is humane to say we are not entitled to his medical records of the president because they are ‘private documents’.
The president is a PUBLIC FIGURE!!! What has privacy got to do with being a public figure? He sacrificed his privacy on the altar of service to the nation. Now, I am taking it persona. Please forgive me.

I move on objectively.

The president is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Head of State and Chief executive of the Federation. What an exalted position! He is accountable to the people because we voted him into power: he is our employee, we are the boss! See, the position does not seem so exalted after all because without us, he is not and without him, we are at best in chaos. It is supposed to be a symbiotic relationship.

For the A.G to tell us that we are not entitled to the medical records of our employee, the President and so-called servant leader, is at best mischievous. That would be akin to setting a dangerous precedent. He is indirectly stating that civil servants are not bound to disclose health issues or tender medical results because they are private documents; employers would not be able to study the medical reports of their employees...I can go on and on.

In my next article, I would adequately state what constitute public documents and what are classified as private documents.

Until then the A.G has to view these issues in their right perspectives and take actions that are humane...or simply keep quiet.

1 comment:

nitrile exam gloves said...

I have been working on health information systems in developing countries for some time and it is interesting that a lot of your principles are the same as what I have been proposing to resource poor countries. The ideas of keeping things simple, incremental development, local use of data, minimal data set, appropriate technology and of course data standards and interoperability.