Thought Leadership

Notes from Nigeria: Akunyili @ 53, Luxury suites subsidising care for the poor in Garki Hospital and BUPA partners with Nigerian Hospital

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From Chikwe in Nigeria:

Being in Nigeria at the moment, I picked up the papers to catch up on what is going on (online versions of Nigerian newspapers provide a small selection of featured articles everyday). Most of the papers over the weekend were filled with congratulatory messages to Prof Akunyili at 53!. I join millions of others in wishing her many more years of a fulfilled life. But, I could not help but wonder which of all those “well wishers” would still take the full page advertorials if she was to leave NAFDAC today. I thought back to when Prof Akunyili was my teacher in the University of Nigeria, Medical School. I do not remember any full page birthday wishes in those days. But, knowing Prof. Akunyili, I am sure that she will not be swayed by the attention seeking drug companies and other similar institutions. Her role in NAFDAC is primarily a regulatory one. No number of sweet worded, nicely coloured adverts should sway her from her mission. Else….people will die.

…as a footnote, it was also the birthday last weekend of the new Governor of Lagos State, Mr Fashola (SAN) He advised all those planning to take out newspaper adverts to visit charity homes on his behalf. They did! Enough said.

In a policy paper before the Nigerian elections, the Nigerian Public Health Network suggested the use of private paying rooms to subsidise the care of those that have to stay in the open wards in our public hospitals. Thisday newspapers report that Garki Hospital in Abuja, recently refurbished by the El Rufai administration, has done just that. 3 ward categories have been delineated A,B,C, “C” being the executive ward…which will provide a luxury environment. The hospital’s management promises that despite the differences in the physical environment, clinical services will be the same for all. The hospital, which was closed for close to 6 years is presently on concession to the Nisa Premier Hospital. If this arrangement does work…it will provide a model that can be copied by other tertiary health care centres.

Finally, BUPA, UK’s premier private provider of health care has partnered with Reddington Hospital , a multi specialist institution in Nigeria. This will make all those who buy extra health care cover from BUPA access these medical services while in the country without paying. At least one less excuse for not coming home!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

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