This appeal was prompted by the rising number of poor patients who are not able to pay their medical bills; some having been abandoned in hospitals by their relatives.
Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Professor Chris Bode, made the plea at the 7th Annual Symposium of Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) held in Lagos during the weekend.
“I wish somebody will pay the bills,” requested Bode who was chairman of the occasion. He stressed that the inability of poor patients to offset their hospital bills does not make them less worthy to live.
The CMD who disclosed that LUTH admits close to 500 patients daily, was worried by insufficiency of fund to execute their duty. “We don’t have adequate healthcare insurance,” he explained.
The LUTH boss stated that high exchange rate has made medical financing very expensive. Declaring that patients deserve proper medical care, he warned medical personnel, especially medical doctors against embarking on incessant actions at the expense of patients’ safety. “It offends God and humanity to use strike action as a tool for bargaining,” he asserted.
Turning to health journalists, the professor charged them to deepen medical knowledge by disseminating correct, adequate and timely information on developments in the health sector. “If you don’t do any of those,” he emphasized, “rumour fills the space.”
Bode enjoined the journalists to write more about healthcare financing. He said the government has been able to reduce strike in the health sector, adding: “The system is working in Nigeria” as there are many health organizations that are doing a lot of good work.
The theme of the symposium was; Mental Health In A Recessed Economy. The topics treated on the occasion included “Disease Outbreaks; The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Experience; The Burden of HIV/AIDs and The Role of The Media In Advocating Budget Increase For Child Health In Nigeria.
The event was attended by Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. Wale Oke who said “We need to collaborate to make sure we do positive things for the people,” and therefore, urged journalists to to send out correct information, curtail panic, and collaborate with health experts to get right information.