The Ministry of Health (MISAU), through the National Directorate of Medical Assistance, issued a directive in October 2020 which discouraged health professionals from prohibiting patients access to health units based on the type of clothing they wore.
However, directive 2642/MISAU/290/2020, dated 22 October 2020, opened an exception for health professionals to recommend patients the type of clothing to wear.
“The health professional’s obligation is to care for the patient regardless of the clothing they are wearing, which does not rule out the possibility of recommending the patient the appropriate clothing for situations which the health units do not think to be an emergency ”, the directive read.
Not agreeing with the aforementioned exception, the Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS) appealed to the National Director of Medical Assistance.
In response to the OCS, the National Directorate of Medical Assistance decided to revoke the old directive, promising to issue a new one in all health units, fully respecting the order of the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, which only orders the non-limitation of access by patients of the National Health Service owing to clothing.
Although the OCS welcomes this announcement, it expresses its concern since it also expected to obtain the content of the new directive.
Experience shows that MISAU has been making this process time-consuming, so much so that the first (directive) document had not even been posted in any health unit in Mozambique. OCS fears that this stance will prevail at the level of MISAU.
A survey carried out recently by the OCS proves that the prohibition of access to health units prevails in many health units, showing a clear act of violation of Human Rights – in particular the right to health – enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic and in the international instruments for the protection of Rights Humans.
It should be noted that the first OCS petition was submitted on 30 July 2020, demanding the removal of the ban on the entry of the patients in national health units, due to dress and appearance.
In response to the OCS petition, the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, issued a Ministerial Order ordering the National Directorate of Medical Assistance to prepare a directive on 17 August 2020 directing the Clinical Directorates of Hospitals not to limit patients’ access to the National Health Service (SNS).