By Jérôme-Mario Utomi
This article arises from an unusual event / event that did more than anything else to substantiate the claim by well-meaning Nigerians that a healthcare professional does not feel obligated to seriously observe basic standards of care or is generally unwilling to accept responsibility for his failure. to provide the expected quality services.
It was an excerpt from a mental story from Saturday, November 6, 2021, in Ketu Lagos, where / when my son Pascal Onyinyechukukwu Utomi (now late) was suffering from a health crisis. To help the innocent boy stop the disturbing reality, we (myself, mother / wife and a really good neighbor) went to one of the private hospitals in the neighborhood. The door to the hospital was firmly locked and understandable as she had died overnight.
To get the necessary attention, I therefore begged: please help us! To help!! To help!!! Emergency! Emergency!! Emergency!!! A few minutes later, a member of the hospital staff quietly walked towards us. Without approaching the door or asking what the situation was, he, to our astonishment, engaged in the following conversation;
It will cost you a certain amount to get the hospital card. I answered; no problem. He fired again; you need to pay another Naira as deposit (this time by mentioning a larger amount). Again, I replied, no problem. And the next statement he made was; can i have the money? Looking at the time, to respond to this request, I pleaded that he help me with the hospital account number to make the transfer or better yet allow me to pay with my ATM / POS card because I don’t don’t have a lot of money on me.
At this point, I received what met the criteria for an Unimaginable and Unexpected Response!
Let’s listen to him; we cannot accept transfer / POS at this time of night. In addition, our Oga (boss) who will confirm the transaction alert / notification is not there and we do not have the power to wake him from his sleep..
So can I pay cash tomorrow morning, I asked? No, he has answered. So what is the process? We can’t help, did he declare.
With this final declaration and without regard for the dying innocent boy, he slowly let us out in the cold to our fate and returned to the main building where he firmly locked the door.
We had no choice but to move to another hospital where he was eventually admitted, but the experience / services were not too different from the first one.
Indeed, while the above accounts characterize one of the millions of unavailability of quality services, the failure of surveillance and the impunity of health professionals in the private and public health sector in Nigeria. , using the right to health as thematic focal points, there are well-established reasons that make this development not only a crisis, but portray the country’s public and private health operators as both ineffective and guilty of poor providers. health care.
First, the issues that are as important as the play itself are; what happened to strengthened accountability mechanisms for health care delivery in Nigeria? How can the nation ensure greater responsibility and accountability of health institutions and professionals in the country? Which should be preferred when considering patent processing, monetary gain or the urge to save lives? If it is a desire to save lives, why are the country’s medical operators so insensitive to the plight of Nigerians? Why are governments at all levels in Nigeria notorious for poor health sector funding?
Have the country’s health professionals forgotten that maximum quality services delivered efficiently and under a cost-effective arrangement are more cost effective than abnormal or counterfeit services as Nigerians are now witnessing?
Also disturbing is the fact that healthcare institutions in our country (both private and public) still do not realize that serving the population is a serious responsibility and that those involved must abide by the code of conduct and strive to stay within certain limits. This objective must be achieved in an environment of positive and fair competition. They must offer Nigerians the opportunity to access quality health services without falling prey to falsified or illegal services or practices.
Speaking of the right to health, it should be mentioned that Nigeria has voluntarily assumed the obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfill the right to health under major regional and international human rights instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant. on economic, social and cultural rights.
As stated elsewhere, in the revised National Health Policy (2004), “health and access to affordable and quality health care is a human right”.
It further states that “a high level of efficiency and accountability must be maintained in the development and management of the national health system”.
In its statement of commitment, the policy affirms that “the people of this nation have the right to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care. . . it is not only their right but also their solemn duty.
So why have these principles and values not yet permeated the “development and management” of health care planning and delivery systems? It is a dismal development that many health professionals and institutions are unaware of the existence of the policy, let alone the ideas, principles, goals and expectations it embodies.
This is not the only concern regarding the country’s health sector. There are others that are more specific to government in outlook.
Take, as an example, Nigerians are particularly unhappy that the flight of capital lost to medical tourism in one year by Nigerians is large enough to build a world-class hospital in this country that can meet these demands. needs, create jobs, bring back an array of Nigerian medical specialists litter the world and bring foreign income into our country’s coffers.
They are not happy that the same medical tourism that in 2017 alone kept our dear president away for about 150 days is left with nothing dramatic to repair or prevent such a future event.
And sadly, Nigerians will continue to “cry” because they are tired of suffering this state-sponsored human degradation.
It will, however, be of considerable importance to this discussion if the FG realizes that on a global scale there is no codified principle for moving a nation from poverty to prosperity. All it takes is for the FG to make an extra effort to accelerate economic development, social progress and deeply commit to developing strategies that will ensure the protection of the lives and property of Nigerians while maintaining health workers (private and public) responsible for their professional misconduct.
Jerome-Mario Utomi, Program Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice (SEJA), wrote from Lagos. He can be contacted via [email protected] or 08032725374.