BY OLA AJAYI
IBADAN—A legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, has condemned commercialization of public health service delivery, calling on the Federal Government to consider the downward review of fees charged by its hospitals.
He made the call at the Strategies for Improved Diabeties Care in Nigeria, SIDCAIN, diabetes and hypertension conference held at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
According to him, it had been his heartfelt desire that public should participate in providing for the needs of the people, saying “it cannot be right that public health institutions, especially those set up by the Federal Government should become more expensive than their private counterparts.”
He gave an instance when an average private hospital in Ibadan where UCH is located charges N500 for consultation, the UCH charges between N750 and N1, 250 for consultation alone.
Reiterating that he would not subscribe to making health care an avenue for profiteering, he said, this scale of fees, required an urgent downward review through a health scheme that would subsidize the costs.
Unless something urgent was done to review it, the commercialization of health care would impact negatively on public health service delivery system and the attainment of MDGs.
To make health care delivery accessible for every Nigerian irrespective of status, he suggested that a single national health insurance scheme with provision for different categories, including the formal, private and informal sectors as well as exemption groups.
He expressed concern over the influx of fake drugs into the Nigerian market, saying it was amazing that the said fake drugs would have on them the NAFDAC number which is sometimes fake.
“This is one single factor that has had delibitating effect on the nation’s health care, adding that prior to Prof. Akunyili’s intervention in NAFDAC, over 70 per cent of drugs dispensed in Nigeria were substandard, he added.