Prof. Wale Oke, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), on Wednesday urged the public to patronise primary healthcare facilities in their areas.
Oke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that this would reduce congestion at secondary and tertiary health institutions.
He said that the Lagos State Government had refurbished the state Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in terms of equipment and personnel, to ensure that qualitative healthcare services get to the public at the grassroots.
“Many people still do not appreciate or are still not convinced that they can get quality care at the primary healthcare centres.
“Patients, on daily basis, flood LASUTH over health issues that can be well managed and treated at the primary healthcare centres.
“We get referral from the North and other states. We get from outside the country – Togo and Cotonou – and we have limited facilities to attend to all the patients who throng the hospital.
“This has led to unnecessary congestion of patients, thereby resulting in the drastic reduction in quality time spent on each patient during consultation. The public should understand this.
“We have just barely 600 beds and when the hospital is full to capacity, there is nothing we can do about it than to ask patients to check other hospitals. This is our main challenge in LASUTH,” he said.
Oke said that patronising the PHCs could help to stem the increasing rate of mortality due to communicable diseases.
He said that the PHCs covered a wide range of health and preventive services such as health education, counselling, disease prevention and screening.
“We can best eradicate communicable and vaccine-preventable diseases, if we visit our primary healthcare facilities.
“A strong PHC system is central to improving the health of all, especially at the grassroots, and reduces health inequalities among the different groups.
“The services are coordinated in a way that more specialised services can be provided when needed, and when they cannot handle any case, they refer to a general or teaching hospital.
“This is what is obtainable in developed countries and we need to key into such to increase access to quality healthcare,” he said.