A High Court in Lagos State has struck out the policy of compulsory blood donation from spouses of pregnant women seeking antenatal care in Lagos public hospitals before their pregnant wives could be registered for antenatal care.
The Ikeja court, in a judgment by Justice Raliat Adebiyi, declared the practice as “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
Striking down the policy, which had been in existence for years, Justice Adebiyi described it as unconscionable, saying it was “averse to the life and well-being of all citizens that access the respondent’s facilities.”
The judge’s pronouncement follows a fundamental human rights suit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, which said it had been inundated with complaints by residents about the state hospital policy of compulsory blood donation by spouses of pregnant women seeking antenatal care.
SERAP had, in the suit, contended that the compulsory blood donation policy was contrary to Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees the right of Nigerians to life.
Agreeing with the group in her judgment on Monday, Justice Adebiyi held that the actions of the hospitals and facilities were violations of the rights of residents of Lagos to a system of health protection.
She said, “The respondents are hereby ordered to forthwith stop or discontinue the policy of insisting on compulsory blood donations from patients or relatives of those seeking medical care and attention before accessing antenatal, maternal or any health services in the facilities of the respondents.”
Joined as respondents in the suit were the Attorney General of Lagos State, Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State.