By Hassan Zaggi
The inability of state governments to equip the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and the General hospitals, has been linked to the inefficiency currently being experienced in Nigeria’s health sector.
The Committee of Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors (CCMD) of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, disclosed this at the end of her 88th regular meeting/annual general meeting, in Abuja.
The assertion is following the concern raised by many Nigerians that the tertiary hospitals in Nigeria are not working optimally as patients are made to wait from morning to evening before they can see a doctor.
Responding to questions from Journalists, the newly elected chairman of the CCMD, Jafar Momoh, lamented that the state governments across the country, have, over the years failed to fix the PHCs and General Hospitals, hence, patients flood to the tertiary hospitals for care.
The tertiary hospitals which are supposed to handle referral cases, he said, now deal with minor cases that are supposed to be handled at the primary and secondary level of care.
He, therefore, called on state governments to put more efforts in fixing the general hospitals and PHCs for the health sector to make the needed progress.
“However, one of the way to solving this problem is that the state governments have to work on the performance of their general hospitals. This is because in an ideal set up all routine cases should not go to the tertiary hospital.
“The tertiary hospitals are referral hospitals, but when people troop to the tertiary hospitals instead of going through the primary and secondary care then the burden of care is being shifted to the federal government hospitals and this will not make them function optimally. Particularly for those who are coming for the first time,” he said.
Responding to a question on delays in getting test results being experienced by patients at the tertiary hospitals, he explained that: “If you are an outpatients and you are sent to the laboratory or radiology to get test result, as an out patient, meaning, the patient is not critically ill, the department will prioritise for patients in admission and patients in emergency care who will not be sent home because they are too ill. Their case will be done on emergency basis and results will be ready promptly.
“They people who will be scheduled to see their doctor are only people who are coming back to see their doctor on another day and it is expected that your result will be ready before the next clinic day.
“This is the expectation. Again, it goes back to the volume of work being done by the tertiary hospitals is much more than what is being done by the private hospitals and that is why when you go to a private laboratory, the number of people you see there is far less than those you see at the tertiary hospitals or any teaching hospitals.
“These are some of the things we are working on, improving efficiency and our SERVICOM are also ensuring that if there are complaints, they are directed to them and they follow up promptly to make sure they are addressed.”
However, in a communique issued earlier, the CCMDs called on the federal government to review upward and ensure prompt release of overhead of the Federal Tertiary Hospitals for proper accountability and smooth running of the hospitals.
“The committee called for the urgent release of funds for outsourced services in the Federal Tertiary Hospitals, in order to maintain and enhance security, cleaning and ancillary essential services and the creation of a budget line for sustainability.
“The committee urged the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of the Residency Training Act 2017, with payment of arrears accrued.
“That the process of seeking approvals for replacement of exited staff especially clinical staff be simplified to make for smooth running of the hospitals.
“That the multiplicity of court cases involving the Federal Tertiary Hospitals be harmonized and spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Health for prompt resolution.
“That the Federal Government should fully equip and support a National cardiac center of excellence at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu to function optimally as an immediate response to the rising cases of cardiac disease/death while effort is being made to develop a cardiac Centre/Laboratory in every geopolitical zone of the country as a long term solution,” the communique stressed.
The CCMD also elected officials that pilot its affairs for the next three years.
Dr. JAF Momoh of the National Hospital, Abuja, emerged as the chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ibrahim emerged as the Vice Chairman/Secretary, Dr. Yahaya Baba Adamu –Treasurer, Dr. Emem Bassey -representing Federal Teaching Hospitals, Dr. Osiatuma Victor –representing Federal Medical Centres while Dr. O.C. Ogun emerged as the representative of Specialist Hospitals at the Committee.