The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it is investigating “possible violation of patient and consumer rights” in the deaths of Peju Ugboma, a popular pastry chef, and Omolara Omoyajowo.
The commission broke the news in a statement by Babatunde Irukera, its chief executive officer, on Monday.
Peju’s family had earlier alleged that their daughter died due to negligence of health officials at Premier Specialist Medical Centre in Victoria Island where she had surgery for fibroid.
Omolara was also said to have died due to alleged negligence by officials at the Beachland Specialist Hospital in Arepo axis of Ogun state where she received treatment after suffering an ulcer attack.
The demise of the pair had provoked outrage on social media, with many Nigerians calling on relevant authorities to investigate the incidents and ensure those found guilty are brought to book.
In the statement, FCCPC said the information gathered so far was enough for the commission to open an active investigation into the two cases.
The commission also disclosed that it has already issued “Notices of Commencement of Investigation and Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons and entities.”
It added that it is also collaborating with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in the investigation to determine the extent of possible violation in the cases.
“In both cases, relatives and friends allege mismanagement including failure of professional standards; as well as patient care/customer service standards including timely responses to requests,” the statement read.
“The commission in 2018, in collaboration with multiple healthcare professional associations led by the Nigerian Medical Association, and the Federal Ministry of Health promoted, created, and secured the adoption of the Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR). The rights enshrined therein are provider obligations that otherwise exist in other enforceable instruments/codes governing healthcare delivery.
“Further, and in addition, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) mandates the Commission to enforce “any enactment with respect to the protection of consumers, conduct investigations into matters related to consumer protection; ensure consumer interests receive due consideration, and provide redress to obnoxious practices; ensure service providers comply with local and international standards of safe service delivery” Section 17(a), (e), (s) and (y).
“The commission does not investigate or evaluate conduct to determine professionalism, ethics or violation of professional/ethical codes. The Commission does not make determinations with respect to the professionalism or adopted procedures of qualified and authorised professionals.
“However, the commission investigates and considers whether service providers sufficiently respect rights of consumers and applicable standards of care in compliance with those rights, including providing redress or remedies for injured consumers.
“Initial information gathered is sufficient for the Commission to open an active investigation into these cases. As such, the Commission has today issued Notices of Commencement of Investigation & Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons/entities.
“The Commission is also communicating with the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), to expand engagement to the extent that any pertinent conduct may be otherwise unprofessional and, or may be subject of any disciplinary process (if applicable).”
The commission called on the public to provide useful information to aid the investigation with a view to getting justice.
“Finally, considering the sensitivity of these sad events, and in respect and deference to families/affected persons or reputation of both professionals and facilities, the commission advises candor and restraint in discussions and pronouncements about the occurrence and investigation,” it added.
The development comes hours after the Lagos state government also ordered a probe into the circumstances that led to Peju’s death.
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