Diaries of a Doctor

The year 2020 was quite a turbulent one especially for low and middle-income countries like Nigeria who earns ninety percent of its revenue from crude oil whose price dropped exponentially during the lockdown. Various measures were put in place by the Federal and Lagos State Ministry of health through identification of the index case, the building of isolation centres for new cases, provision of personal protective equipment and availability of testing centres.

Despite these efforts, the existing health care system and received little or no attention in respect to the provision of healthcare service delivery and its affordability. Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the cost of health services has risen and this has led to patients inability to procure basic hospital consumables to aid treatment. A typical example was a case of a 70year old peasant farmer who visited my Diabetic clinic two weeks ago for a routine check-up and drug pick up. Due to the high cost, he had to struggle to pay for the consultation fee but was unable to pay for his investigations and drugs. So I was compelled to seek financial aid on his behalf to complete his treatment.

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The inability of clients to pay for these services can affect the outcome of the medical condition negatively and cause adverse effects. Health care financing has been a controversial subject of debate and interest over the past few decades with less than 5 percent of Nigerians unable to access quality healthcare through the national health insurance scheme. I strongly believe and suggest the Federal Govt should seize the opportunity the pandemic has presented to strengthen the Nigerian health system so that services can be reliable, accessible and affordable.

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