It was on a cloudy Sunday morning I rushed to the hospital for medical attention and unfortunately there was power outage leaving the entire hospital in darkness with little array of light through the window blinds.

I sat in pains full of fatigue and my aching body dripping of sweat for I was hot in the coldness of the weather. Alas! The nurse on duty called out to the security man who doubles as the man in charge of the power generating set. After ten minutes there was no sound that the generating set was put on.  At this point, I couldn’t bear the heat and I decided to step out to get some fresh air. Nurse Maryann then flared up on seeing the discomfort I had felt and screamed to call out the security man on why it has taken him forever to put on the generator.

I was bewildered when the young man stepped out of his abode by the entrance gate majestically without any sense of guilt and then went to the generating set. Of course, he took yet close to ten minutes before the hospital eventually had light.

At this scenario, I was pained and asked myself if this is the attitude that would be displaced at critical emergency where a patient is between life and death – no sense of urgency neither was he remorseful. Rather he went to the powerhouse grumbling and making some funny statements which I pretended not to have heard.

After receiving attention and placed on three days injection, I left a bit relieved. As I arrived the third day, I presented my card to the receptionist who collected and, in few minutes, returned it and said I would be attended to shortly. After 20 minutes, I beckoned on her and she assured me that in another five minutes I would be called. While I sat, I noticed the nurses parading around without attending to anyone but flaunting their assets like bees hovering around.

Finally, my patient level fell to zero and I lost my cool, straight to the lady and I exclaimed how much longer would I have to wait to just to be administered my last dose of injection? Without any remorse she responded sarcastically; “Are you not seeing the Dortor?” I sighed, nodded my head in pity of the attitude. Then I wondered if she didn’t understand the record in my file. Eventually, she brought a file to show that she had presented my file to the Doctor only for me to see another patient name on the file. In disdain I brought out my hospital card and asked her if the name was same on the file.  She only walked away without an apology for the mix-up. In the long run, I was administered the injection and it was a wrap for me.

The crust of this article is not to reiterate the failed state of our health sector, which keeps playing out strong in the media by renowned analysts from various fields of endeavour but to retrospect the dept negligence as a cankerworm has penetrated the attitudes of our health practitioners.

No doubt that the health sector ranks amongst the sectors with less attention resulting to increase in medical tourism which has become a cry in recent years. While the sector is experiencing least governmental attention, the practitioners themselves are a cause of worry as human lives are of less value to them.

 

Two things I drew from my recent experience; the security man’s delay in putting on the generator and the mix up of file by receptionist. This security for me acted in ignorance of the importance of his role in the hospital’s value chain which contributes to quality service to patients. For the receptionist, her lack of attention to details is a subtle reminder that people’s health conditions have been jeopardized and made worse owing to wrong medication as a result of file mix up. This is what negligence can cause resulting to grave dangers to the health of Nigerians.

Every hospital claims to provide quality health services to her patients. This assertion can only come alive if the personnel take on themselves the mission/vision statements in their practice. People (job seekers) end up making promises of upholding the values of the organisation but the story changes once they have the job. Instead of the promised diligence to work, negligence becomes the order as they sing the usual chorus, ‘no be my papa work’.

Negligence by health workers has become an epidemic that kills even faster than any common ailment in our society. Hardly is there a Nigerian family that has not lost a loved one (family or friend) due to negligence. Of course, no one has been recorded to be punished professionally hence poor health workers place less value to the lives of their patients.

Half the time, negligence is referenced to the Doctors because it is their show. The act is practiced like a norm by most workers in the hospitals – the gateman, cleaners, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory attendants and others. They need to be told that the reason why the word ‘staff’ has no plural is because all employees of an organisation, irrespective of the positions, are working for a common goal to fulfill the vision and mission statements.

It is time to put things in perspective by having the concerned government authorities and stakeholders wade into the matter to cure our hospital personnel from nonchalance in the discharge of their duties. A system to checkmate health workers should be put in place by the management of both public and private hospitals. Any employee who puts fort negligence should be shown the exit door if that would help to reduce careless deaths of our people. I have come to know that people are hired for their skills but fired for their attitude.

With President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge during the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC), listing the health sector as one of the areas of priorities, it suffices to say that this next level agenda will act in revamping the health sector. A state of emergency in the sector will not be a bad idea if indeed we value the lives of innocent Nigerians who cannot seek medical attention out of the shores of this country.

Kenneth Adejumoh is a Public Relations Practitioner. He enjoys contributing to national issues through his articles. He is the Corporate Communications Manager at Nosak Group.

“THE HEALTH SECTOR AND THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE HEALTH PERSONNEL” by Kenneth Adejumoh