Dr Ramon Moronkola, a Consultant Cardiologist, says a lot is still required to deliver quality healthcare to citizens, in spite of efforts by successive administrations to improve on the sector.
Moronkola, the Secretary, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State Branch, said this in an interview on Thursday, in Lagos.
He said that the challenges facing the health sector, particularly in Lagos, were more evident compared to other states due to its population size, strategic position and the media attention enjoyed by the state.
He further noted that in spite of some additions to the existing health facilities by the government, they were still grossly inadequate to cater for the huge population of Lagos.
“This is compounded by consumers’ preference or ignorance, as most patients prefer to visit the secondary and tertiary health facilities even for minor ailments, instead of primary health centres.
“Out-of-pocket expenditures make universal health coverage difficult,” he said.
Moronkola noted that though the State Health Insurance Scheme had been launched, stakeholders were still wary of the implementation as most were left out at the initial planning stage.
He added that brain drain issue was also a major challenge that threatens the human resources capacity of the state to deliver quality healthcare.
“The number of staff in most health facilities has reduced over the years, either due to relocation or retirement, making it impossible for the remaining few to deliver quality healthcare.
“This could have been prevented if the principle of exit replacement was maintained; which means any exit from services is automatically replaced without seeking approval from the ministry.
“If you have the budget to pay 100 employees for the year and 20 resigned in the third month, the head of such institutions should be able to fill the space without getting approval from the ministry, which sometimes takes forever,” he said.