The glance, structure, settings, and waiting room of the ikosi primary health care are more than enough to tell that the health center is operating far below standard.
Shortage of adequate staff, lack of needed facilities and low funding are other related issues of concern.
While Ikosi Primary Health Center is in the same compound as Ikosi/IsheriLCDA, one would have thought that service delivery at this Primary Health Center will be top-notch due to the proximity to Ikosi/Isheri Local Council Development Area which had just gotten a befitting structure in that same compound, however, the reverse is the case.
This reporter visited the healthcare, and it was observed the waiting room was fully crowded as several patients were kept waiting, some patients were seen hurriedly picking numbers to fast track their move to see the Doctor.
Patients raise alarm about low treatments
A female patient complained who is identified as Tinuola* while reacting said the Doctor does not take enough time to attend to the patients, however, she also mentioned that the overcrowded patients are too much to be attended to by the doctor in charge.
”Even when you wait for hours before you see the Doctor, the doctor will not take enough time to attend to you because the work is too much for a doctor. How will he ask the necessary questions when he sees that he still has plenty of other patents waiting for him? So, he will just quickly ask you to go and do a test”.
Some patients who have received treatments disclosed to this reporter that they have to wait for 3 hours before receiving the necessary treatment. However, many of these patients are using this health center because the cost of private health care services is too much for them to bear, so they have no alternative but to make use of what they can pay for.
Mrs. Chinyere, an Insurance worker also states that the weekend services are poor.
“The health workers don’t come early, but their service is not bad, apart from the fact that you have to wait. I have been using the health center since I had her first child.”
While this reporter approached some staff of the health center, they remained reluctant in clearing the air. However, one of the nurses who eventually spoke anonymously said the hospital is always crowded because only one doctor is usually on duty most times, and that the level of how fast patients are being treated depends on how fast the doctor is.
According to her “This waiting room used to be most crowded on Mondays because of the weekend backlog, sometimes we could have 100 patients waiting to see the doctor”.
Another nurse who was on duty also confirmed that the large crowd is having a huge effect on their performance.
“We are coping. That is the situation we found ourselves in and we have to cope” she said.
Healthcare in Lagos State
Lagos State allocated 8.87 percent of its total budget in 2022 to health as against the 15 percent benchmark recommended by the African Union and WHO.
The State has also recently launched Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme which is to ensure that Lagos residents especially low-Income earners have access to quality health care services, however, one cannot convincingly say that this is what the standard should be like.
While the population spurt in Lagos is putting pressure on the healthcare facility in Lagos State, factors like poverty, poor service and lack of trust are some other issues of concern.
Lagos Smart City Project
It is also worth noting that the Lagos state government had severally declared its commitment to transforming Lagos into a smart city, the use of technology to provide services and solve people’s problems.
The core infrastructure elements in a smart city include Robust IT connectivity, constant electricity supply, Adequate water supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and transport (intelligent road network), e-governance, automated public utilities, the use of AI and robotics in health, education and city.
An automated health system is a very key element of a smart city. With the current issues affecting this sector now, one may begin to wonder how Lagos will achieve the smart city project.
While the Lagos Bureau of Statistics confirmed that Lagos State has 329 primary health centers, the unanswered question is how well staffed, and well-equipped are Primary Health Centers in Lagos State.
If the smart city project will be attainable, then this cannot be done without having a standard healthcare system. So, there is an imperative need for the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders to invest more in primary health care to make the healthcare system more inclusive, accessible and also improve the average life expectancy of Nigerians which is now 54 years.
Also reacting is a resident of the community, Mr. Oladotun Adeshina who disclosed that quality health infrastructure is key for urban renewal and smart city.
He said, “If Lagos health care is not upgraded and health facilities are well equipped to meet current the demand, then there is every likelihood that Lagos will not achieve its smart city project but will rather slide into urban decay.
“Health infrastructure are like servers, if a healthcare facility is meant to cater for 20 people and because of population outbreak, soon the city will experience urban decay. They should renovate the Primary Health Center, provide more drugs and the Lagos State Government should employ more health workers to improve the health facilities”.
Urgent Need For Investment
If Lagos state must achieve its smart city project in all ramifications, it must up its demand, because Health improvement efforts in Lagos State will go beyond the conventional healthcare system.
Therefore, to achieve this, the Government must consider the use of ICT, AI and robotics in the health sector. Also, they must start to consider innovations in health for diagnostics, surgeries, and others.
There is no doubt that technology is fast changing the healthcare landscape and if Lagos is in the pursuit of a Smart city, the government must be willing to invest in smart hospitals to make this vision a reality.
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