Dearths of modern facilities, poor attitude to work cripple Nigeria’s healthcare system – Olanrewaju
Rapheal Olanrewaju, a Consultant Surgeon in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Director of 23-year old Mother and Child Hospitals in Lagos, spoke to RAZAQ AYINLA, Southwest Bureau Chief on cogent issues as regards sheer neglect of Nigeria’s health sector which is due to bad leadership and governance. Excerpts:
How do you see the state of the healthcare in Nigeria at the moment? What is going on well and what can be improved upon?
Everyone knows that the state of healthcare in Nigeria is far from what it should be. We are worse of today than what we had in the seventies and eighties as far as our hospitals are concerned. The basic health facilities are far from being adequate and efficient. The tertiary healthcare centers especially the teaching hospitals which gave us joy during our training years are not so nowadays because of the general decay in Nigeria.
Nigerians now run to places that used to envy us for health care. Thank God we have more hospitals and medical personnel, but there is a dearth of modern facilities and poor attitude to work and services. Nigerians are far from being satisfied in our health services. Urgent steps must be taken to address this poor state of affairs.
There have been calls on the government to do more in health industry. What are your recommendations in this regard?
Heath care is very expensive. Majority of the citizens cannot cope with the cost of provision of service without serious government input. Any government desirous of good healthcare services must invest in the health industry. Government at various levels local, state and federal must invest heavily in the health delivery to ameliorate the sufferings of the people. Government policies in finance, agriculture, education and infrastructure have a bearing on the health of the citizen and should be tailored towards improving the lives of the people to make investment in health worthwhile.
You recently opened a new facility in Omole, Lagos. Tell us about this facility and what it has to offer?
Our new facility at Omole, Lagos is primarily to serve as a world class, one stop people friendly hospital for every member of the family. The ambience, facilities and staff have been carefully planned to allow our clients and families experience the best care possible. We are glad that this type of facility can be provided in our country at this time.
People don’t often talk about the business side of managing a hospital. How has the journey been over the past 23 years as a healthcare organisation in Nigeria?
Managing a hospital are in two parts, the training as a medical doctor and the business aspects. These are not mutually exclusive but a good manager must be able to use his or her trainings, knowledge and available resources, both human and material, to achieve the aims and objectives of the organization. To this end, the past years have been very challenging but also rewarding. Operating in Nigeria has been very challenging for many reasons particularly because of the lack of supporting infrastructures such as efficient and adequate provision of power, water, good road and security. We have to operate in an environment without government or financial institution support. Nigerian banks desire that hospitals keep their resources with them without any support or with throat-cutting interest. This is not so in well-organised societies. It is difficult to manage a successful medical outlet in Nigeria.
Congratulations on your anniversary. It must be rewarding to be consistently making a difference in people’s lives for such a long time. What is the experience like in the last 23rd years?
We established Mother and Child Hospital in October 1996 with J.B.O Adewuni.
All glory to God for His mercies, help and grace all the way. We know that all the so-called achievements are by His grace alone. We are glad that God enabled us to contribute our little quota. God had made a success of our effort.
So, who is Raphael Olanrewaju; educational background, qualifications and medical experience?
I am Raphael Sunday Olarewaju. I attended St Andrews Catholic Primary School in Oro Kwara State. My high School was at Igbomina Secondary Grammar school, Ajasse Ipo in Kwara State where I graduated with The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCE) GRADE 1 Distinction. I also attended Ahmadu Bello University Zaira and graduated with MBBS 1982.My post graduate studies was at The Jos University teaching Hospital where I graduated with Fellow of The West African College of Surgeons in the faculty of Obstetrics & Gynecology in October 1990.
I was a lecturer in the faculty of medicine university of Jos and Consultant in obstetrics and gynecology (O&G) to the University of Jos Teaching Hospital until I resigned in October 1994 to Join Duro Soleye Hospital in Lagos.
Looking forward, what are your growth plans for the next 10 to 20 years?
God willing, we believe that the next 10-20 years has very promising and rewarding experience in stock for us. We intend to extend the Mother and Child brand to other parts of Lagos and Nigeria at large. We are here to make Nigerians access the best care with no stress financially or emotionally.