Nigerians Do Not Deserve Better Healthcare by Olufemi Aina
In recent times I have read and listened to many negative report regarding the Nigerian Healthcare System and Practitioners. Many commentators are quick to identify the Problems, but are rarely so quick to proffer solutions. While the knocks for the Healthcare System is justified, I resent the knocks for the Healthcare Practitioners, rather knocks should be reserved for the permissive Public that accepts anything, in guise of Healthcare Service, even offered by Theatre attendant- personal experience This is an irony in itself, because one can barely separate a system
from its operators, herein lie the crux of the matter- the frontline healthcare practitioner is hardworking and wish for change in the healthcare sector, but hampered by systemic and pernicious culture.
Most Nurses, Doctors, Pharmacists and Laboratory Technologists cannot provide a better healthcare than what the system permit; hence the average Nigerian is currently receiving the best the Nigerian Healthcare System can deliver.
Challenges with the Healthcare Sector can broadly be divided into Systemic and Operational Challenges, and I dare say most and very crucial challenges are Systemic, rather than Operational. Systemic Problems include those relating to Government Policies, ineffective Regulations, Ineffective Management of Healthcare Systems, Permissive Nature of the Nigerian Public, Self- centred Leadership of Professional Groups and crass Resource Mismanagement.
Operational Problems are those that occur at the point of Service Delivery and they have their roots in the Systemic Problems, hence any group or Government interested in changing our Healthcare System must first focus on the Systemic Challenges.
Practically all Government Policies- both Federal and State regarding healthcare need to be reviewed, starting from clear definition of Roles and Responsibilities of Healthcare Professionals to changing the present system of funding without accountability- All Chief Executives must have clear Strategic Goals and Objectives and achievements weighed against such goals.
We haven’t heard of any Government-owned Hospital wanting to improve in Surgical Service, Improving its Staff or expanding its range of services, meanwhile we all cry of Lack of Funding, problem is rarely lack of funding, but rather lack of vision.
In other climes, there is much focus on efficient use of Resources and quality of care rendered, these are totally alien in this environment, we need to develop standards against which Service Delivery all Hospitals is measured.
The Professional Groups in Healthcare are self centred- the most we hear about them is campaigning against doctors, or in the case of the doctors themselves- not able to conduct credible elections-witness Oyo, Delta and Edo, rather the national NMA body is more interested in controlling information sharing amongst members.
I am yet to read any position paper regarding Improvement in Healthcare from the NMA, NANM, and PSN etc; rather it’s the season of turf protection with the most important component of Healthcare- the Patient losing out.
While Nigerian Healthcare System and its operators have their challenges, these challenges are compounded by the average Nigerian. The Public is the major culprit that has refused to demand for better service but cry blue murder regarding Healthcare, there is no Public-driven advocacy group on Patient Safety and Quality of Healthcare Service, yet expects World-class service delivery.
I know of no Nigerian that has reported any Hospital to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), or even sue against Medical Negligence, and we expect Healthcare Practitioners to perform magic, without monitoring and exposing mistakes. So dear friend, rather than abuse and castigate all doctors, nurses and pharmacists: first castigate yourself and the Government.
Femi Aina is a consultant with Aesculapius Healthcare Consultants @aeshealthcon.
*Dr Olufemi Aina*
*Aesculapius Healthcare Consultants*
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