Health Minister Prof Isaac Adewole, Friday directed tertiary hospitals across the country to save patients’ lives first during emergency cases before demanding for money.
Adewole, spoke during a facility tour of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said people’s lives were more important than the money being demanded before treatment.
According to him, accidents, among other emergency cases can occur at anytime, so patients should not be refrained from accessing treatment. Adewole advised hospitals not to allow patients stay beyond a day at the Accident and Emergency (A and E) ward to enable them have room for other new patients on emergency.
He urged LUTH management to ensure that the poor receive treatment, stressing that the hospital should operate a social system to enable it know those that are genuinely poor.
“We cannot continue to turn poor patients away from the hospitals. The poverty indicator shows that 60 to 70 percent of Nigerians is poor. This means about 100 million people are poor in Nigeria. So, we will provide basic care through the primary health care (PHC) system for Nigerians,” he said.
He lamented poor funding of the health care, saying there was chronic underfunding of the sector. Moreover, Nigerians and the media should take the fight to increase health budget to the front burner because health is wealth.
“The sick cannot make the country strong,” the minister said. He charged patients with minor ailments to visit primary health care (PHC) centres rather than going to teaching hospitals.
Prof Adewole said Nigeria needs 140 radiotherapy machines, adding that the seven machines now available were inadequate.
“Only two or three presently work at a time. Poor power supply has marred our effort to keep the machines running regularly. If power improves, the equipment will last longer,” he said.
He charged people to improve their lifestyle, exercise and eat healthily. Besides, they should have regular checkups.
“Many late cancer cases cannot be cured.