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Update on Health Minister’s Visit to LUTH

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Prof. Adewole addressing journalists at the end of the visit
Prof. Adewole addressing journalists at the end of the visit

Darkness in A& E
The current bleak power situation in the country was at its best at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital when the Health Minister paid a scheduled visit to the hospital yesterday. The Minister met the Accident and Emergency unit of the hospital in darkness. He was told that the two generators dedicated to the unit packed up due to over work. This however did not deter the minister as he continued his tour of the unit, chatting with patients and officials of the hospital at every point. Light was however restored shortly before the minister left the unit.
Prof. Adewole admitted to newsmen at the end of the visit that he was a bit unhappy about the light situation at the unit but noted that it was a reflection of the general situation in the country thus, the situation in the hospital was not an isolated case. He however commended the hospital management for establishing its independent power plant.
“LUTH will become a bright spot in the country by the time the Independent power plant is commissioned,” he assured
The minister was also informed at the A&E unit that that every accident victim brought to the unit are attended to, whether that or not they have money. Prof. Adewole urged that the policy must continue in every Teaching hospital adding that this was emphasised at the last Council on Health meeting. He also urged the hospital to absolve the bills of indigent patients.
“We cannot justify denying poor Nigerians treatment because they do not have money. Nigerians who are poor should enjoy our services. They are Nigerians, until we prove that they are not Nigerians. Every indigent Nigerian must be treated at our hospitals without charges.
However, we are appealing to Nigerians to be genuine to the system because we cannot take care of everybody free of charge until a system of insurance scheme or a form of health levy is put in place to create the resources to take care of everybody.
For now, we will take care of the poor, but we want them to be truly poor. Based on this, we will have a social system that will try to identify them, locate where they live and try to take care of them”, he added.
Prof. Adewole however noted that the unit was congested and directed that management should ensure that patients are evacuated within 24 hours to give room for new cases.
“We believe that the emergency unit is the face of the hospital. No one will give you credit if you fail on emergency. What I saw this morning was congestion. When the accident and emergency unit is congested, it cannot absolve new cases. LUTH should operate a system that leads to the evacuation of patients on Accident and Emergency unit within 24hrs. Once you give first aid treatments move them to the wards or discharge them if they are stable in order to create space for new cases”, he directed.

Lassa fever, a national embarrassment
Prof. Adewole described the Lassa Fever outbreak in some parts of the country as a national embarrassment.
Asked by a journalist for an update of the outbreak, the minister noted that Lassa fever has been in the country for a long time, breaking out from time to time.
“I call it a national embarrassment because we have what it take to ensue it does not happen,” he said.
The minister however noted that the case fatality from the epidemic this year was high.
“Usually, about 10% of the patients of lassa fever die but this year, we lost about 60% of those who tested positive . One of the things we want to do is to make sure that our laboratories our working so that they can be treated nearer home. This was one of the reasons for the high mortality rate.”

More primary healthcare centres coming
The minister also reaffirmed government’s commitment to revamp and rebuild over 10,000 primary health centres and promised that the project will commence in a few months’ time.
“Government will soon start building over 10,000 primary healthcare centers out of the 30,000 needed in two years. It is not a new idea, what is new is the new commitment to implement it. In 2012, Nigerian agreed to implement 30,000 healthcare centres. So what we want is to make this happen. We have submitted the proposal to the presidency and it is under review. We are looking for how to sustain this project,” the minister said.

Watch out for the full excerpts of the minister’s dialogue with journalists.

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