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Medic calls for overhauling of NHIS

… Says HMOs could be better regulated

By Sola Ogundipe

A medic, Dr Ayola Sanu, has tasked the Federal government to overhaul the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as a way of ensuring that Nigerians have access to quality healthcare that is affordable and accessible.

Sanu, who is Medical Director, Solid Rock Hospital, Ojodu, Lagos, said the perennial problems of the Scheme over the years had constituted it into an impediment rather than a utility to the average Nigerian.

In a chat with Good Health Weekly during his hospital’s 25th anniversary,

Sanu also remarked the Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, could be better regulated and should jack up their minimum packages, even as he called for better remuneration of Nigerian doctors, who he rated among the best in the world.

“It will do all of us a world of good if the Scheme is modified and restructured to correct so many imbalances that have bedeviled it since it was launched. As a matter of fact, the NHIS deserves to be upgraded to accommodate the realities of our time.

“With the Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, as go-between patients and hospitals,access and quality of healthcare services to the patient has changed drastically.

“The HMOs are now like the middlemen in insurance who have gone to source for the business at their own terms that we are not privileged to know exactly what they collected.

“But we know that what they pay the provider is peanuts and we are complaining.  “The HMOs are cutting cost just to win clients, in the process they lower standards, and at the end of the day they are not happy,  the clients they are serving are not happy as well.  “At the end of the day, it looks like they are short-changing themselves to the detriment of the patients ‘care. That is why the system is not fully working.

Continuing, Sanu who narrated how he abandoned Agriculture to study Medicine,  said God has indeed been faithful as the hospital has grown over the years.

He said the hospital name  “Solid Rock” was by a divine revelation adding that though there have been challenges, the hospital has nevertheless established itself. According to him, the hospital parades qualified medical workers to ensure patient safety.

“There was the need for good doctors as one cannot work on one’s own, and by God’s grace, we have  virtually good staff and top-notch nurses and others. I told myself I was not going to build the practice around myself and to the Glory of God; there are people who are helping to build the hospital whenever I am not around.   He further pledged that his desire is to have the practice go beyond his generation.

Revealing the secret of  his succes, he said: “At the time we started some 25 years ago, there was still a little bit of money around and people could take care of their medical needs. When we started, it was mainly more of private patients who could pay and over the years, we began to have corporate patients.

“Initially, we had about fifty-fifty of private patients and corporate and the cost of consumable was not so high as many could still pay while only a few would owe. To mark the anniversay, the hospital offerred free medical screening and consultation to residents of the host community


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