How My 18-Month Child Was Asked To Sleep On Bare Floor – Father Narrates Experience At Government H0spital
The Public health sector in the country is sick as patients have lamented the various challenges and maltreatment they have been facing in teaching hospitals across the country.
Apart from inadequate medical personnel and equipment to treat them, basic facilities that can make their stay in hospitals worthwhile are grossly insufficient. Due to this, the hospitals that are supposed to provide succour for the sick, add to their pains.
This is as Naija News reports that all is not well with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as a panel set up to investigate the crisis in the agency recently recommended the dismissal of its Boss Usman Yusuf citing inability to work in harmony with all the relevant stakeholders in the scheme for the attainment of the scheme’s mandate, Established cases of infractions of the Public Service Rules, among others as his offence.
Investigations in some teaching hospitals across the country revealed that the majority of the sick, particularly inpatients, are enduring double trouble.
The patients and their relatives, in separate interviews with The Punch said the problems they encountered included sleeping on bare floors, following the shortage of bed spaces; and maltreatment by health workers.
In some of the hospitals, patients alleged that medical personnel referred them to private health institutions.
Though the authorities of some of the hospitals explained that overcrowding of the tertiary health institutions was caused by the failure of the primary and secondary health care institutions, the patients and their relatives insisted that they were not doing enough in health care delivery.
How 18-month Child Asked To Sleep On Bare Floor At ATBUTH
At the Abubakar Tafawa Belewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi (ATBUTH), a public servant, told newsmen about the poor medical attention given to his sick son at the hospital.
He said when his 18-month-old son was ill and his wife took him to ATBUTH on April 12, there was no bed space for the little boy.
He stated, “They (the workers) ran some tests on him and discovered that he had malaria. My son was to be admitted, but it was so unfortunate that there was no bed space in the hospital. All the beds were occupied and we had paid for a bed space. Later, they took us to one bed at the Gynaecology Ward very close to a bathroom. The place was smelly and we could not stay there.”
He said he complained to a doctor, who said he could not do anything “except if we can lie on the bare floor or we should go back to the trauma centre.”
The public servant said, “I couldn’t leave my son like that in that kind of condition. Mosquitoes bit my son to the extent that parts of his body were swollen. The electric fans there are not working. There are no mosquito nets and the worst of it, there is no care for the patients by the medical workers. In that hospital if you go there, you may end up dying because of the terrible attitude of the members of staff.”
My sick father-in-law was taken to a smelly room’
Another Bauchi resident, Fatima Idris, also narrating her experience at the teaching hospital said, “her father-in-law was in the hospital for over 38 days but we were asked to go and do some tests in Gombe State, which we did and it was discovered that he had leukaemia.
“They then transferred us to a place called Sami-Sami ward and immediately we were transferred there, we were not taken to the main ward. What they did was that they took us to one small room and the whole place was smelly and there was no light there.”
Doctors Refuse To Attend to My Wife Because Of Incomplete Deposit Payment
Another resident of Bauchi, Ahmed Mohammed, said when he took his wife to the hospital for treatment, he was asked to deposit N10, 000 but he had only N3,000.
“So, I begged the doctors but they didn’t agree. I was sad because I thought she was going to die. I had no choice but to transfer her to the State Specialist Hospital, Bauchi, where she was treated.”
Mohammed said although the hospital had qualified personnel, patients went through a lot of stress trying to make payments before they or their relatives could be treated.
He said, “There is a lot of bureaucracy in the hospital. You have to go from one place to the other to pay. Where you will pay the money is different from where you will collect the receipt. After collecting the receipt, you will take it to another place and then they will stamp and sign before you take it to where you will be treated.”
We don’t have enough bed spaces, says ATBUTH CMD
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Alkali Mohammed, said ATBUTH had its challenges like other public health institutions.
He said, “As far as bed space is concerned, I am not surprised. We don’t have spaces often. It is not news. One has to look at the circumstances we are in. Agreed, we are a 700-bed hospital, but if you look at the catchment population we are serving, I will say Bauchi has inadequate hospitals.
“If you go to our trauma centre, it is now overstretched because of the influx of patients. Although we are doing an expansion, I assure you that if nothing is done at the primary and secondary health care institutions, we cannot meet the demands in the state.”
The CMD said sometimes, it was the patients that would prefer to lie on the floor when there were no bed spaces.
On the maltreatment of patients, he advised those affected to make formal complaints, adding that the management would investigate such cases.
Water scarcity, insecurity at UNTH
Also, investigations at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, revealed that the institution was battling with problems of insecurity and lack of water supply.
On several occasions, both patients and medical staff have been attacked by armed robbers inside the hospital as a result of inadequate security.
“If you go round the hospital, you will see water tankers everywhere. The water in the tankers is not for the patients, but mainly for the cleaning of the hospital. So patients were required to provide water for themselves,” a patient who gave his name as Onyedikachukwu said.
Another patient, Dugwu Hyacinth, said he had been in the hospital for over two weeks and had spent N350 to buy water.
When interviewed, Chief Medical Director of the UNTH, Christopher Amah, cited power and water supply as major challenges faced by the hospital for some time now.
Amah, however, said that the management was working hard to address the challenges.
Patients Of University Of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital UPTH Complain Of Mosquitoes
A relative of a patient at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, who identified herself only as Chinenye said that mosquitoes bite at the hospital remained a major problem for patients and workers.
Her words: “Since we came here (UPTH), mosquitoes have been biting us. Mosquitoes bite people here both in the day and in the night. I have been here for a week, but it is only during the day that I sleep. I cannot sleep at night because mosquitoes torment us.”
But a member of staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the hospital management fumigated the premises once in a week.
Also, the acting Public Relations Officer, UPTH, Elebha Meni, said the mosquito menace in the hospital had reduced drastically as the management had tackled it.
Patients Being Allegedly Being Diverted At University Of Benin
But at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, it was observed that the wards were always overcrowded with patients.
One of the patients, who identified himself simply as Osaretin, said the problem of overcrowding in the hospital was an indication that the UBTH had insufficient medical workers.
He also lamented the poor treatment meted out to patients by consultants and doctors.
Osaretin added, “Because of the large crowd, the few doctors on the ground are not always able to give thorough attention to the needs of the patients. At times, they will refer you to their private clinics where they will promise you better services, but at exorbitant fees.”
Another patient, Kingsley Nwachukwu, who came to the UBTH from Warri, Delta State, lamented inhuman treatment by some workers.
Nwachukwu, who described his spleen-related ailment as death-threatening, said, “Another problem is the manner of appointments they give to patients with critical issues. Can you imagine being told that your next appointment is three months away, whereas you are dying gradually?”
But the management of the UBTH, through its Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Prof Casimir Omuemu, described the allegations as untrue.
He said, “This is a general allegation and my first response is to say that it is untrue. The UBTH is currently at an all-time high in terms of functionality and our admissions and out-patient clinic visits are increasing daily.
“There is absolutely no need for any patient to leave the UBTH for any other hospital. If such an incident is reported, it will be investigated and dealt with decisively.”
Also responding, the Chairman of Medical Consultants Association, in UBTH, Dr Stanley Okugbo, said allegation that patients were being referred by consultants to their personal hospitals was new to him.
He said, “That is very surprising and new to me, because the UBTH is not known for that. We have not heard that before. Maybe some patients may have some issues with the care in the hospital, but as to being diverted, no.”
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH has security problems – ARD president
At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, both the patients and medical doctors complained of the absence of streetlight which, he said, had worsened insecurity around the health facility.
The President, Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH, Dr Kayode Makinde, told The PUNCH that there was the need to beef up security and provide light in the area where a medical doctor was recently killed by robbers.
According to Makinde, the problem of patients not getting bed spaces was because the facility had been overstretched.
He said, “LUTH was established in 1962, the population of Nigeria has grown astronomically and investment in health has been on the decline. When you compare Nigeria’s health allocation to countries such as Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa, you will understand why they have better facilities and bigger capabilities.”
Patients complained of Inadequate bed spaces at LUTH and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
The President, Association of Resident Doctors, LASUTH, Dr Fatai Balogun, said the lack of bed space was a common occurrence in the hospital and other big health facilities around the world.
“It is everywhere, and I can assure you that if LASUTH has 5,000-bed spaces it will be filled up. Government should open up other hospitals and stop putting all the patients’ hope on LASUTH. There is a limit to what LASUTH can do in terms of bed spaces,” Balogun said.
Also, on news men’s visit to the Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital Complex, Idi Seke, Osogbo, it was observed that the hospital was busy with human and vehicular traffic, while the Accident and Emergency Unit, one of the busiest wards in the hospital, was too small to accommodate patients.
Meanwhile, Naija News recently reported Nigeria’s minister of labour, Chris Ngige, who himself is a medical doctor while speaking on a TV interview programme, submitted that the country has enough medical doctors and those in the profession travelling out of the country to seek greener pastures are free to do so.