By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—The Federal Government has warned against hospitals detaining patients who cannot pay their medical bills, even as it said it would do everything possible to reduce reliance by public officials on foreign hospitals for healthcare services in 2017.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at a briefing in Abuja, told doctors and hospitals that they did not have any right to detain any patient who could not pay bills.
According to the minister, a more dignified way must be found to treat indigent patients than detaining them over inability to pay bills.
To put its hospitals in order and render critical medical services to Nigerians, the Federal Government is to engage the services of two medical equipment manufacturers to supply and equip its tertiary hospitals across the country.
Similarly, the federal government plans to build and equip at least 109 primary health centres in all the senatorial districts in the country in a bid to make health care delivery handy to Nigerians.
Under the plan, the minister said, his ministry had begun the process of formulating a national health policy that would also affect the administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, to allow more Nigerians to benefit from the scheme.
He also announced that no fewer than seven trauma centres were being built across the country, while effort was also being made to tackle the scourge of cancer.
Adewole explained that contrary to the notion that cancer was a killer, it could actually be treated and contained if diagnosed and treated early, saying “we will begin to deal effectively with cancer beginning from 2017.”