Emmanuel Thomas l Monday, January 07, 2018
IGBOBI, Lagos, Nigeria – It is common knowledge among tourists and businessmen that the day starts counting by 12 noon once you check into any hotel and lapses 12 noon the following the day.
But this is not the case at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Lagos, one of the three orthopedic hospitals in Nigeria, operating under the Federal Ministry of Health. Here in Igbobi, Lagos, days are counted by dates as they are documented against business norms in private establishments.
Though a bed space in Casualty Emergency Unit, (general ward) devoid of air-condition but with fans and unkempt bed cost N5,000 per day, you will be forced to pay N10,000 in a period of 20 minutes if you are documented to have been admitted at Casualty Emergency Unit.
For instance, (Paul Inyang, not his real names) was admitted at 11:50 PM on Wednesday 03/01/2018 only to be moved to regular wards at 1:00 AM on Thursday 04/01/2018 but was forced to cough out N10,000 just in a period of 20 minutes.
His passionate plea and that of his wife for understanding fell on deaf ears even after making down payment of about N100,000. His pains were aggravated by the fact that he had to pay for everything upfront. He had to pay for the cost of Plaster of Paris(POP), and drugs, etc well ahead of time.
“Everything here is expensive more than what you get outside. The cost of drugs is almost twice what you get outside. Besides, the nurses are very saucy”, he said, adding that he was virtually left unattended to after a minor surgery even when he was in serious pain until a family member intervened by challenging the nurses, he said.
“It is terrible here, you won’t believe it is Federal Government Hospital”, Modupe, an elderly woman waiting for visiting hours told this reporter.
Pointing to a team of doctors led by a consultant on ward round at Ward H, she said. “As you can see, they are seven in the team, all the specialists are present, including a pharmacist so that your problem can be treated once. They do this once a week on Fridays, she said to comfort the reporter who was mad about complains about exorbitant cost of treatment and lack of hospitality among personnel in the government hospital.
“ This explains why it is very costly but it should be subsidised by the Federal Government”, she said, wondering what will happen to a victim of accident without the means to fund the treatment.
But as you step into the ward, the reality dawns that you are in government hospital. There are just a number of fans, not sufficient to go round the patients, forcing some to bring in table fans. There are no toilets, to each bed is attached a plastic container for defecation and urination which has to be manually moved by the nurses. Besides, the food is nothing to write home about.
Even at N1,000 per day for feeding imposed on patients, they are hardly able to eat the food provided, forcing family members to smuggle in food against the rules. There are enough private security attached to each ward complimented by closed circuit television, CCTVs, about one per ward. (Our reporter could however not verify the functionality of the CCTVs).
Besides, the Patients’ family waiting bay built in 2012 has fallen into a state of disrepair. The television sets are no more working, many of the chairs begging for replacement.
Although you have to pay to urinate or defecate as a visitor, you could see signs of physical development, with structures springing up here and there, credit to the abnormal high cost of bills to the peril of the citizens.
“The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole will need to visit this hospital. There are just three orthopedic hospitals in Nigeria, one in Lagos, One in the East and one in the North”, the elderly woman told the reporter adding that they were set up when Nigeria was running regional government.
She emphasised an urgent need for downward review of charges. “It is just too much for the Nigerians, especially for a government hospital, health must be given top priority, even before education”, she said, adding that it is only when you are alive that you talk about education.