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LUTH deteriorating, in crisis – Report

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LUTH deteriorating, in crisis – Report

 

A new report by a rights organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed the “humanitarian crisis, manifestations of corruption and mismanagement at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba.
The report was part of the highlights of the public hearing held by SERAP to provide a forum for people to come up with testimonies and submit complaints and petitions on allegations of corruption they encounter while accessing public services, particularly in the health, education and water sectors.
The 53-page report titled, “Failing healthcare: How federal hospitals are letting down the poor and making healthcare a privilege rather than a right”, which was launched yesterday chronicled how unhygienic conditions, severe shortages of medicines and medical supplies in the hospital and two other Federal Government owned hospitals in Lagos make it extremely difficult for many Nigerians to obtain essential medical care.
Apart from LUTH, the other two hospitals covered in the report are; the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi (NOHIL) and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute-Meta.
The report while revealing a sharp deterioration in the quality and safety of care in these hospitals also indicated that they do not have enough cancer treatment machines.
Linear Accelerator (LINAC), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT scan machines were also said not to be working optimally due to erratic electricity even as the hospitals do not have back-up plans.
According to the report, “A LINAC costs about $5 million and the six that the Federal Government procured for six teaching hospitals have packed up. The dialysis machine at LUTH is outdated and its functionality at the time of study was zilch. LUTH recently lost its accreditation to teach dentistry because all its five dental chairs had packed up and there is no functional dental engine available.”
The research for the report which was presented to the media by Professor Dejo Olowu, Dean, School of Law, American University of Nigeria, was conducted between April and June 2018 using semi-structured in-depth interviews as the primary instrument for data collection.

The report reads in part: “Our researchers observed that some wards have no mosquito nets. And there is no waiting area for mothers with sick babies. There is the Gynaecology ward, at which entrance a small bench that could seat about four persons, was placed. The bench was occupied by patients’ relatives, presumably. At the end of the corridor where the neonatal ward is, there is a similar four-seater bench, fully occupied. The bench, having been occupied, a group of people were standing. At the neonatal ward, it was the same case. A waiting room for mothers whose babies are on admission was not part of the hospital’s plan. The mothers have improvised.

“A woman lay on the bare pavement under the staircase, taking a rest. Nearby was an area where waiting mothers had carved out as waiting area. A number of women, whose babies were on admission, were seen sitting or lying down on a mat or on the pavement. With the laid mats, sacks of clothes, plates, buckets etc. stacked against the wall and a woman washing clothes, it was clear that many a mother stay for days in this state.

“Another nurse told SERAP, ‘The infant incubator or neonatal incubator is a rigid box-like enclosure in which an infant can be kept in a controlled environment for observation and care. Some of the incubators in LUTH are not working. It is either the heater is bad, or the monitoring mechanisms are not working. The incubators available in LUTH have been in use for over 15 years.

“A nurse, who has worked for four years in LUTH spoke to our researchers: ‘Some beds in different wards are too old to still be in use, but LUTH knows how to manage. Some of the available beds have become dilapidated. Some beds can cause accidents. They have beds from which patients can fall. It has really happened, and I’ve seen it happen. But they keep managing.

“At Igbobi, no money, no treatment. Admission at Igbobi’s casualty ward is N5, 000 per day. After the preliminary examination, tests and eventual diagnosis, patients must pay before they could be admitted into the appropriate ward for their conditions.

“Patients get their syringes and needles, gloves, without it the doctor will not touch the patient. If they ask you for it and you don’t have it, they just walk away, they don’t have time. Privatization of laboratories is another ill that the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, has in common with LUTH.

“We don’t have a therapeutic swimming pool at Igbobi. We used to have long time ago, but it is now filled up; you won’t even recognize the site of the swimming pool now when you get there. And these are the basic simple tools that increase output. No matter how skillful you are, when you don’t have tools to work with, you cannot optimize your output”.

The public hearing was attended by representatives of the Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on corruption, civil society, lawyers, Freedom of Information Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) among others.

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