The case of Jessica Ugwuoke exposes the ugly truth of healthcare in Nigeria. Here is a woman who has being in a maternity home to give birth, after two days of being in labour was rushed to Medical Director of Samaria Hospital, Lagos.
By the time Mrs Ugwuoke arrived at the hospital, she had to have a c-section, unfortunately her baby did not survive.
Mrs Ugwuoke was tendered hospital bill of 285k naira, the amount the family said was too much for the family to afford. After the family paid 45k naira, stitches were removed.
After two weeks of not settling the bill, the lady was told to leave the bed therefore had to sleep on the floor with catheter still connected to the bladder and was prevented from leaving the hospital until the bill is paid.
The family got in touch with an NGO who pleaded to the doctor to reduce the bill as the husband has no job.
I think Dr. Caleb Ayanwusi of Samaria Hospital has done a good deed by treating Mrs Ugwuoke in the first instance, if the lady had gone to a teaching hospital, she is likely to be treated only when bed, medical supplies are paid for, this is, if our doctors are not on strike at the time.
Thankfully with input from local NGO Mrs Ugwuoke was discharged to go home and allowed to make payment after she has fully recovered and starts to work.
For someone who has just lost her baby, it is a pity she has to go through the ordeal that follows. Reality is that private hospitals are the most accessible health care providers but in order to stay in business, they must be paid for job done.
In a survey recently published by Pew Research Centre, Nigerians and other 7 Sub-Saharan Africa nations think healthcare is the top priority for their government to sort out by followed education.
What can we do to improve healthcare in Nigeria?
To begin with, President Buhari need to place restrictions on all public officials from travelling abroad for health tourism. Only then can they see importance of investing in local hospitals so healthcare can reach many more people that are suffering needlessly.