By SOLA OGUNDIPE
WOMEN attending Ogudu Primary Health Centre, in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State are benefiting from a public-to-private hospital referral initiative designed to enable access to comprehensive emergency obstetric care.
For instance, when Lola Stevens who lost her first pregnancy and required to undergo a Ceasarean Section for the second, and she didn’t have the money, she was worried, but thanks to a Memorandum of Agreement, MoA, signed in 2012 between PATHS2 and six private health facilities in Lagos, she later got to know was entitled to to a 50 percent rebate.
The hospitals were selected in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health, the Association of General Private Nursing Practitioners, AGPNP, and the Association of General Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN.
It was big news to Lola. The operation was to cost N150,000, but courtesy of the MoA, she paid just half the cost, and had access to the best available care. Part of the MOU is that even if there is no money if it is emergency, there muist be intervention.
Simialrly, a few weeks after Funmi Omoyele put to bed at a private hospital in Lagos, she was shocked to discover she had to pay as much as N19,750 for her baby to be immunised at the facility.
The 36-year-old banker was later referred to the nearby Ogudu Primary Health Centre, in Kosofe Local Government Area, Lagos, where she was told her baby was entitled to all immunisations free of charge.
Commenting on the partnership, Lagos State team leader, PATHS2, Lagos, Mrs Bisi Tugbobo, said the ultimate goal which is central, is to ensure the state utilises its owm resources efficiently and effectively to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
“The purpose is to improve the planning presenting and delivery of sustainable and replicable services for common health problems in Lagos,and other focal States of Kano, Kaduna Enugu and Jigawa.
“We facilitate referral linkages, such as meeting every month to make the cluster, which included private facilities.” Prior to this, PATHS2 had trained hospital staff in vaious aspects of health intervention
In just over one year, the Ogudu PHC, which runs a 24-hour service, has gone from a facility that delivers three or four babies to one capable of handling up to 30 or more babies monthly.
Essentially, the issue of referrals from public hospitals has just started. In the past this would never have happened, but now public and private hospitals complement one another.