Press Release – Urgent Action Required to Address Critical Issues in Abuja’s Primary Healthcare System

Abuja, July 3, 2023 – A recent research conducted by Tap Nitiative for Citizens Development has shed light on the urgent need for intervention in Abuja’s primary healthcare system. The research, which encompassed 30 healthcare centers across the Federal Capital Territory, has revealed several critical issues that require immediate attention.

One of the alarming findings is that a staggering 18 primary healthcare centers (PHCs) out of the assessed 30 had no medical officers available. This shortage of medical personnel significantly hampers the provision of essential healthcare services to the local population, compromising their well-being and access to quality care. Moreover, 21 PHCs did not have pharmacy technicians, 14 PHCs lacked health record technicians, and 12 PHCs did not have medical laboratories, with only one having an account clerk. These deficiencies further exacerbate the challenges faced by healthcare centers and hinder their ability to deliver comprehensive care.

Additionally, the research highlighted a concerning perception among 7.5% of respondents that hospital officials are engaged in corrupt practices. Corruption in healthcare not only erodes public trust but also diverts precious resources away from patient care, exacerbating the already strained healthcare system.

Another troubling discovery was that a staggering 81% of individuals who utilized primary healthcare services in Abuja did not receive proper receipts for their treatments. This lack of transparency poses a significant risk to patients, as it becomes difficult to track and verify medical expenses. Furthermore, it creates an environment conducive to potential misuse of funds, adding to the concerns around corruption within the healthcare system.

Furthermore, the assessment revealed that 5.7% of patients expressed dissatisfaction with the service delivery at healthcare centers, directly attributing their discontent to corruption-related issues. Such discontentment not only undermines the overall patient experience but also raises serious concerns about the integrity of healthcare services provided to the community.

Equally troubling is the fact that 10.5% of patients felt compelled to tip healthcare workers in order to access necessary healthcare services. This practice is indicative of a breakdown in the equitable distribution of healthcare resources and highlights the systemic challenges faced by individuals seeking affordable and quality healthcare. Furthermore, 78% of the respondents had no knowledge of available programs carried out at the PHCs, such as immunization, tuberculosis care, reproductive health programs, and HIV/AIDS care, which further contributes to barriers to accessing healthcare.

The findings of this assessment demand immediate attention from relevant authorities, healthcare institutions, and stakeholders. We urge the government, in collaboration with healthcare organizations and community representatives, to take swift and decisive action to address these critical issues in Abuja’s primary healthcare system.

Specifically, the following measures are recommended:

1. Recruitment of medical officers: The immediate deployment of medical officers to the 18 PHCs lacking personnel is crucial to ensure the provision of basic healthcare services to the population. Additionally, efforts should be made to address the shortage of pharmacy technicians, health record technicians, and medical laboratory staff.

2. Anti-corruption measures: Implementing stringent anti-corruption policies and establishing transparent mechanisms for monitoring and reporting corrupt practices within healthcare facilities will help rebuild public trust and ensure the appropriate use of resources.

3. Receipt issuance protocols: Healthcare centers should implement standardized protocols to ensure that every patient receives a receipt for their treatments, allowing for transparent tracking of medical expenses and reducing the risk of financial improprieties.

4. Quality improvement initiatives: Healthcare institutions should prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing service delivery, addressing patient concerns, and ensuring a corruption-free environment within healthcare facilities

5. Accessible and affordable healthcare: Efforts should be made to improve access to healthcare services and address the underlying causes that force patients to tip healthcare workers. A focus on reducing financial barriers and improving the distribution of healthcare resources will contribute to a more equitable healthcare system.

Immediate action is essential to rectify the critical issues outlined in this research and ensure that Abuja’s primary healthcare system serves its population with the highest standards of care. By prioritizing transparency, accountability, and patient well-being, we can create a healthcare system that truly meets the needs of the community.

Barr. Martin Obono
Tap Nitiative for Citizens Development
+234 803 798 7515

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