The Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on Monday ordered government hospitals in the state to stop demanding compulsory blood donations from women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
Justice Raliat Adebiyi, who delivered the ruling, also restrained government hospitals in the state from demanding blood donations from spouses and other relations of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
She delivered the ruling in a fundamental human rights suit filed by the trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
The state Attorney-General, the Ministry of Health and the state Commissioner for Health are listed as respondents in the suit.
Justice Adebiyi said: “The respondents’ contributions to child and maternal deaths stands to reason. Though no data on the child and maternal mortalities recorded as a result of the policy was provided to the court.
“A policy that will deny citizens the right to medical care based on failure to donate blood is not only unconstitutional but unconscionable and adverse to the life and wellbeing of all citizens that access the respondents’ facilities.”
She described the actions of the respondents as “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of their human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
According to the judge, the actions of the hospitals and facilities were violations of the Lagos residents’ rights to a system of health protection.
She said the health system is expected to provide equality of opportunity as guaranteed under Articles 2 (a), 3 and 12 (1) of the International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. (NAN)