BY PAtIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, abuja
The Nigeria health care system is faced with notable challenges ranging from poor infrastructures, inadequate funding, poor policymaking and implementation, among others, resulting in failure in the country’s healthcare delivery.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 report on analysis of the world health systems placed Nigeria at 187 out of 191, only came ahead of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Myanmar.
However, the Federal Capital Territory Administration in 2006, initiated the Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy, using the Garki General Hospital Abuja as a pilot project.
The Garki Hospital is one of the oldest public hospitals in the FCT. It was built and established in 1986. The facility was operational for some years until some years back when it was shut down and needed to be renovated.
While the hospital was shut down, the then FCT minister now Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, started the initiative to concession the facility to a private hospital to manage in order to have a hospital that is able to deliver world care health services and also able to provide access in case of disruption in health care.
After very competitive bid, the NISA Hospital Jabi won the concession to manage the facility, and in May 2007, the hospital was handed over to NISA hospital to manage as a PPP together with the of FCT administration as partners.
This development however, came with concerns that the common man may not be able to access health care services in the facility since it is now partly private.
Reacting to this, the medical director/consultant family physician, Garki Hospital, Dr Adamu Onu, says from his experience, the reality about PPP is contrary to what a lot of people think.
He says “Basically we see a lot of patients and you know a lot of argument and conversation that go around this PPP has to do with affordability, there are those who believe this sought of arrangement would drive the cause of health care, but our experience shows that it is not so, and we can confidently say that this PPP here in Garki Hospital has helped to bring down the cost of health care for our patient that have access care here.
“For example, quiet a large number of our patients are insurance patients so that means they are not paying for health care out of their pocket, that itself has reduced the cost they have to bear, 60 per cent of our patients are under the National Health Insurance Scheme, everybody knows how useful that has been, I am pretty sure if you are able to meet people that have benefited from it they would tell you their stories.”
“We’ve had women coming and maybe you require cesarean session (CS) and it is done at no cost in their pockets except for the 10 per cent copay for drugs.”
According to him, part of the hospital’s vision is to offer world class health care with a broad range of specialties just like the teaching hospitals.
“We might be considered as a general hospital but we actually offer care at the level of tertiary, we have here an ICU, a five bed ICU where we take care of critically ill patient, if you look at the news archive you will see report about successful open heart surgeries done here, you will see news report about successful kidney transplant done right here. We also have advanced diagnostic aid, CT scans, MRI, and all sort of tools, and others, he explained.
Speaking further, Onu expressed optimism that the PPP model will help to restore confidence in the country’ health care system, saying most of the services available outside the country are also available in the hospital and patients are beginning to come from other African countries to access care in Nigeria.
“People are coming in from Ghana, from Liberia to have knee and hip replacement surgery which we do. These are things that people go to India to do but it is available here in the FCT,” he said.