LASUTH CMD advocates revitalisation of medical research institutions, health insurance 

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By Oluwafunke Ishola

Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), has appealed to the Federal Government to revitalise moribund medical research institutions across the country.

Fabamwo made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while proposing areas of improvement during his appraisal of President Bola Tinubu’s One Year performance in the health sector.

According to Fabamwo, robust and functional medical research institutions will stimulate opportunities to solve health challenges locally.

He said that medical researchers producing their research results would increase medical knowledge, improve patient care, develop new medicines or procedures, and help in formulating policies.

The professor further called for strategic reforms that would make health insurance attractive to the citizens.

He lamented the low uptake of the National Health Insurance, attributing its low uptake to the limited scope of the insurance cover.

“For example, if you take a basic insurance plan, you can get free consultation, free medication and few free tests.

“You won’t be able to access surgery and other treatments, unless you pay out-of-pocket.

“To make it attractive to citizens, the premium can be raised. As we speak, the premium is low, about N850 per month. If you raise the premium and increase the coverage, people would be more interested,” he said.

On his assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s performance in the health sector, Fabamwo said the current administration had made the right choice in the appointment of Prof. Muhammad Pate and Dr Tunji Alausa as the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare and Minister of State for Health, respectively.

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“They are seasoned healthcare practitioners and seasoned administrators who have proven their mettle over the years in their various endeavours.

“Also, the recent appointment of Dr Jide Idris as the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) is another example,” he said.

Fabamwo commended the government for its infusion of N25 billion into the health sector to reactivate the drug manufacturing sector and the primary healthcare structure.

“I believe if correctly applied, the funding would go a long way because the cost of drugs is currently very high due to exchange rates, and our dependence on import.

“If we can revitalise our drug manufacturing sector and produce our drugs locally, it would reduce the cost of medications and a lot of Nigerians will benefit from that.

“As we speak, a number of our patients are unable to keep up with their medication because of the high cost of drugs,” he said.

He lauded the government’s efforts at addressing the challenges of brain drain through policies geared toward increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and health workers in all training institutions.

“The federal government has decided to tackle the “JAPA syndrome” in a particular way. And the way they’ve decided to tackle it is not necessarily by stopping people from going, but to ensure that we have enough on ground, even if some people go.

“As a matter of fact, the Minister of State for Health, has said that by the end of this year or maybe maximum next year, we should be producing over a thousand doctors per annum in some of our medical schools.

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“The same goes for nurses and other health workers,” he said.

Speaking on the assessment of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration performance, Fabamwo said the state’s health sector had witnessed a lot of transformational improvement.

He noted that the state had embarked on upgrade and renovation of primary healthcare centres, general hospitals and built new maternal and child care centres in the state.

Fabamwo lauded the state for staff recruitment and ensuring the sustainability of the Exit Replacement policy, which stipulates that health workers that had left the service in the previous three months could be replaced automatically.

‘The policy has helped a lot of the general hospitals and even our own teaching hospital, LASUTH, such that the effect of the “JAPA syndrome” is not so biting,” he said.

He commended the state’s effort at boosting health insurance uptake through increased awareness campaigns and adequate funding of the Lagos State Health Management Authority (LASHMA).

On the state’s impact on LASUTH’s operation, Fabamwo lauded the state government for its robust funding of LASUTH, noting that the financing had assisted the tertiary healthcare facility sustain normal routine services seamlessly.

“As we speak, we enjoy free uninterrupted power through the Independent Power Project (IPP) mainland zone. We get free power paid for by the state government that powers our operations.

“If we’re going to pay for energy, especially with this new tariff, and we are in band A, we’ll be spending about N50 million a month or more,” he said.

The CMD further said that the government pays the salaries of its 3,000 staff and ensures it gets most of its budgetary allocations paid to enable it function optimally and also conduct developmental projects.

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Fabamwo noted that the hospital had benefited from the magnanimity of partners and donors who had assisted with infrastructural development projects and equipment donations to enhance quality healthcare service delivery. (NAN)


Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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