LAGOS – A Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr Olufemi Idowu, has identified inadequate facilities, lack of maintenance and erratic power supply as some major challenges facing surgery in Nigeria.
Idowu, a lecturer at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, said this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
“The major challenge is not the expertise, but the facilities, which are quite expensive and quite a number of these facilities are still alien to the country.
“So, even if you bring the best neurosurgeon on the planet, he cannot function because the facilities for some of these surgeries are not available.
“But, we should give it to the government; they (functionaries) have done some things, because they have been able to provide some of these facilities.
“They will still need to provide more for us to be able to function appropriately.
“We must not also forget the maintenance of these facilities, because bringing them in is for the doctors to use.
“But the biomedical engineers also have to do their own part, because if they do not, the equipment will be spoilt within a short while.
“Essentially, all this no light also affects it, because you buy equipment worth millions and because of fluctuating electric current these are damaged.
“So, we have lost quite a number of equipment like that in the time past and I know that until this power problem is solved, this kind of situation will still continue.’’
The consultant urged the Federal and State Governments to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to provide quality healthcare services to the populace.
He said that given the enabling environment, the cost of treatment and surgeries would reduce for the benefit of the populace.
“Private sector is still our major hope for adequate healthcare delivery.
“What I think the government will need to do is to ensure an enabling environment for them to be able to function.
“I will give you an example.
“So, I am the government, someone needs land for a hospital, we give him land free of charge.
“Importation of some of these gadgets, you reduce the VAT or you make it to be free, tax free as you are importing it.
“Now, the private sector is now mandated that the amount they will charge for these services must be quite low so that people can afford.
“Now, if they do that, secondly, we can now tie it to the populace. We must be people-oriented.
“So, the government is encouraging the hospital to grow and also benefiting the populace.
“It is the private sector that will make any meaningful development in any sector of the economy.
“As far as I am concerned, l think it is focusing on the private sector and ensuring a working environment that will bring down the cost of treatment, cost of surgery.
“And also encourage more of these private hospitals to spring up with appropriate facilities.“