During the inauguration of the Rabboni Hospital in Festac Town, Lagos, the Former Governor Donald Duke of the Cross River State has urged the Federal Government to provide more primary health care facilities across the country,
stating that the presence of PHCs in communities would reduce mortality rates and improve the country’s health indices. He said that just as certain services like schools and fire services are in every community, PHCs should be localized. Until we have health care facilities within a short radius of our homes, we cannot say that we have done right by the citizens. According to Duke, it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that appropriate regulatory framework and infrastructures are put in place to provide an enabling environment for owners of private healthcare centres. There should be special tax rates for medical services providers. Government should not charge hospitals high rates for water and basic services because they are going to throw it back at the patients who may not have the finances to pay and we also cannot expect one general hospital to cater to residents in a local government. Imagine if a place like Alimosho Local Government, with a population of about 2.5 million people had only a General Hospital.
The Medical Director, Rabboni Hospital, Dr. Okon Akiba, who called for more public and private partnership deals, noted that the provision of health insurance for the informal sector would help more Nigerians to gain access to quality health care.
He said, “The historical antecedent of the health system of Nigeria was more welfare-based but that has changed. Therefore, to help the indigents and those who cannot afford to pay. Let everybody be insured. “With health insurance, Nigerians will be treated, whether they are poor or rich. I believe the country has what it takes to make it work.”
Akiba has charged owners of hospitals to raise the bar by providing services that are available in foreign hospitals so as to attract more patients to their clinics.
He added that many Nigerians want quality health care, but because they cannot get it in the country they travel abroad, that is why we are introducing a comfortable medical service with world-class ethical care without manipulations. “We must try as much as possible to be competitive and affordable, and care for indigent patients as part of our social responsibilities.