Plan International Ghana calls for abolition of medical bills for survivors of domestic violence10 August 2022
Plan International Ghana brought together key stakeholders at an event to call for an end to medical examination bills for survivors of domestic abuse.
Stakeholders at the event on domestic abuse organised by Plan International Ghana.
The payment of medical examination bills by survivors of domestic violence, according to stakeholders, discourages many domestic violence survivors from reporting cases as well as seeking justice.
The call was made by various speakers at an event on the payment of medical examination bills by survivors of domestic violence organised by Plan International Ghana in Accra.
Speaking at the event, the Director of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Owusuaa Kyeremeh, said that due to the challenges victims of domestic violence face in the payment of their medical examination bills, many of the survivors discontinue their cases.
Support required for survivors of abuse
She said many of the victims are unable to raise the needed money to get the medical examination bill, which is needed to help with the prosecution of perpetrators of domestic violence.
She expressed the worry that although victims of domestic violence are not supposed to pay for their medical examination bill, many health facilities still take a fee from such individuals before medical examination reports are issued to them.
ACP Kyeremeh said it was illegal for medical officers to take money from victims of domestic violence before issuing them with the medical examination report, noting that, “It is illegal fees that is being charged. There is no justification for it.”
On his part, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, proposed to the government to place the payment of the medical examination report by domestic violence survivors under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Steps needed to prevent violence
For Mr. Ablakwa, since the NHIS already has a well-structured system, it will be better for them to manage such issues than setting up an entirely new fund to cater for the same purpose.
He said due to the high cost of the medical examination report, many domestic violence survivors who cannot afford the payment decide not to pursue their cases for justice, a situation he said emboldens perpetrators of such crimes.
Mr. Ablakwa said the decision by the government to set up a new fund to manage domestic violence and its associated cases will rather compound the challenges medical officers and health facilities face in getting money to survivors of domestic violence.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Titus Beyuo, said if systems are not instituted to ensure the absorption of the medical examination report fee and other expenses, doctors will not be willing to sign the medical report.
Protection from violence, Gender-based violence