Channel Fuel Subsidy Savings to Healthcare, FG Urged

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As the debate on removal of fuel subsidy rages, the Federal government has been urged to channel fuel subsidy savings to healthcare with a view to increasing access by Nigerians to medical services.

Chairman of the Lagos State Medical Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, told Good Health Weekly, in an interview that there is need for government to look at healthcare subsidy if Nigerians must survive the harsh environment.

His words “The nation’s healthcare staus can only be compared to that of Somalia. If you start counting the worst health care system in the world, you will not count up to five before you get to Nigeria.”

Advocating that the subsidy should be used to improve access to healthcare as well as increase number of hospital facilities in the country, he lamented that, “70 per cent of private hospitals are far below standards.”

Odusote noted that access to health care delivery was the most important yardstick to measure a functional health care system, “unfortunately, 70 percent of health services in the country is currently being provided by the private health sector as public hospitals are understaffed and ill equipped.”

“The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, which was set up to address the issue of access to healthcare has not been able to do that as it benefits only a small proportion of the population. The scheme should operate in such a way that every citizen of the country can benefit and be provided with affordable health care services”.

He said in most public hospitals there were only three to four doctors attending to between 200 and 300 patients in the general patients department which meant that a doctor would have only about five minutes with each patient.

He argued that the problem was not lack of trained manpower but inadequate facilities, equipment and manpower.

“If one doctor can attend to only 10 patients per day, he would be able to listen to the patient’s problems without being under pressure and the patient would be satisfied and services would be improved.”

In : Health