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Assault: The Albatross of LASUTH Healthcare Workers

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LASUTH Healthcare Workers

By Olutayo Irantiola

The spate of physical violence in our society has increased tremendously, daily; the media is inundated with the news of all forms of assaults. It seems as if people have not taken lessons from all this reportage as it keeps rising astronomically. Unfortunately, this ugly trend has not spared healthcare workers and this is a dangerous position that must be discouraged.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines workplace violence as, “Incidents where staff are abused, threatened, or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, including commuting to and from work, involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being, or health.”

WHO considers both physical and psychological harm, including attacks, verbal abuse, bullying, and both sexual and racial harassment, to be workplace violence.

In a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, there are 4 types of violence that can occur in the workplace. The first type is by perpetrators who have no association with the workplace or employee.

In the second type, the assailant is a customer or a patient of the workplace or employee. The second type of violence, usually committed by the patient, their families, or their friends, is most prevalent against healthcare workers.

A third type is when the attacker is a current or former employee of the workplace. The fourth type occurs when the perpetrator has a personal relationship with the employee but not with the workplace.

Also, in an article published by BMC Health Services Research titled Manifestations of verbal and physical violence towards doctors: a comparison between hospital and community doctors by Tamar Nevo et al, doctors often are a target for workplace violence.

About a quarter of emergency room doctors reported that they were the victims of physical abuse over the previous year. In a study conducted at Michigan University, 89% of the violent incidents were by patients, 9% by family members, and 2% by friends of the patient.

The primary reasons for violence directed at the medical staff are long waiting times, dissatisfaction with treatment, a hurtful comment by a staff member, or the influence of drugs and alcohol on the attacker.

According to the US Department of Labour, 12% of the injuries sustained by registered nurses are from violent acts. These injuries can be deadly.

Last year in Nigeria, the former National President of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Aliyu Sokomba, Secretary-General, Dr Bilqis Muhammed, and Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr Egbogu Stanley, the association condemned the recent attack on members who were performing their legitimate duties in Maitama District Hospital, Abuja and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

The recent happening at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) wherein the relative of a patient, who was presented with a gunshot injury, assaulted the staff has brought the discourse to the fore again.

In the process of trying to resuscitate the patient, the relative attacked 3 nurses and a doctor in the line of work. In fact, one of the nurses had a deep cut on the head, while one was almost stripped naked. However, the security personnel of the hospital later got him apprehended and arrested.

With the significant rise in the population of Lagos, both in numbers and in age, the waiting time to see a doctor gets longer in both the emergency room and the wards. These frequent acts of violence against employees can have on their morale over time.

“Emergency care is one of the specialties that do have a high burnout rate. How many other places do you go to work, and it’s commonplace and almost accepted that people are going to swear and scream at you? Eighty per cent of the emergency physicians say that patients threaten them or threaten to return to the emergency department to harm them. The cumulative effect of both kinds of violence does wear and it creates burnout. I think it’s contributing to nurses leaving the profession.”

Although the hospital has put up “zero tolerance” signs, patients and their relatives do not adhere to this instruction. With the various ways of escalating the pain of patients and their relatives to the hospital management, people still find it easier to be violent rather than engage with the management team. Every day across the country, people are verbally and physically abusing staff.

The apprehended relative of the patient has been taken to court and the law would take its due course. All hands are on deck waiting for the verdict. It is wise to state that everyone needs to be calm even in the face of utmost provocation and seek other methods of dispute resolution rather than resorting to violence.

According to the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Adetokunbo Fabamwo, with the level of innovative solutions that LASUTH is bringing to Lagosians through its dedicated healthcare workers, it can only be done in an atmosphere free of chaos and agitation.

Violence against healthcare workers is unacceptable. It harms the psychological and physical well-being of the staff but also affects their job motivation.

“The management of the hospital, under any circumstances, would not tolerate any assault against her staff going forward. The hospital provides for checks and balances within the hospital which is available to treat situations if they occur, and the hospital on several occasions appealed to aggrieved members of the public to seek redress through various channels.

“The hospital is committed to providing quality healthcare services to our patients and their relatives and we urge everyone to cooperate with our staff to facilitate their care,” he added.

As a responsible workplace, LASUTH has continued to investigate workplace violence incidents, risks, or hazards; provide training and education to employees who may be exposed to workplace violence hazards and risks; meet record-keeping requirements; and prohibit acts of discrimination or retaliation against employees for reporting workplace violence incidents, threats, or concerns.

It has become expedient, therefore, for policymakers, hospital managers, and supervisors should work collaboratively to minimize workplace violence and ensure the safety and psychophysical stability of all healthcare workers in Lagos and the nation at large.

Olutayo Irantiola is an astute PR Consultant and Public Affairs Analyst. He can be reached via peodavies@hotmail.com and he blogs on www.peodavies.com

Health

Stanbic IBTC Pushes for Innovative Financing Solutions for Healthcare

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innovative financing solutions

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The healthcare industry in Nigeria can compete with others in advanced countries if stakeholders work together to create innovative financing solutions.

The Head of Specialised Sectors at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Ms Jane Ike-Okoli, said the market is big enough to attract more investors.

A few days ago, Business Post reported that a global research firm, Agusto & Co, projected that an increased foreign interest would drive growth in Nigeria’s healthcare system, especially through the acquisition and establishment of health facilities in the medium term, helping to bridge the healthcare infrastructure deficit estimated at $82 million.

For Ms Ike-Okoli, this goal can be achieved as Nigeria is Africa’s largest healthcare market. She said the country only needs an effective collaboration among stakeholders to boost the sector.

Speaking during the panel session at the Medic West Africa Conference, Ms Ike-Okoli argued that effective collaboration between the financial industry and healthcare organisations was key to advancing Nigeria’s health sector.

She also mentioned that the sector is yearning for innovative financing solutions to address the nuances of lending to healthcare businesses.

“Nigeria is Africa’s largest healthcare market, and despite this, we have inadequate healthcare infrastructure, which gives rise to weakened health systems.

“It is in response to this that Stanbic IBTC has decided to partner with key players in the healthcare sector to improve access to healthcare finance and provide robust yet flexible funding options for healthcare businesses and providers.

“Our healthcare solutions are tailor-made for players in the sector who need working capital to expand healthcare operations, acquire medical equipment, facilitate medical research, and grow their healthcare businesses.

“One of such solutions is the recently launched unsecured short-term loan with a 12-month tenor, which is aimed at directly supporting providers with funds to improve their offerings and, by extension, grow the healthcare sector in Nigeria,” she stated.

Other panellists featured at the event included Dr Folabi Ogunlesi, Managing Partner Vesta Healthcare; Dr Idorenyin Oladiran, Medical Consultant, Human Resources, MTN Nigeria; Dr Leke Oshunniyi, CEO, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) and Professor Akin Abayomi, Commissioner of Health, Lagos State.

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Health

Pharmaceutical Company Introduces Affordable Blood Tonic for Nigerians

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Fejeron Blood Tonic

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The harsh economy in Nigeria caused by high prices of items amid low purchasing power has made it difficult for Nigerians to afford the basic needs of life, especially drugs to replenish their body system.

As a result, the rate of suicide triggered by depression and others has increased. Also, the number of people falling sick in the country has skyrocketed.

But things may soon change for the better as a pharmaceutical firm, Sterling Biopharma Limited, has introduced a new product called Fejeron Blood Tonic into the Nigerian market to support the country’s about 66.8 per cent economically active population.

Fejeron Blood Tonic contains iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid, all essential components that help to facilitate adequate blood supply and replenishment to the body with vital vitamins while enabling a strong immune system.

“Fejeron Blood Tonic is the latest proof of our commitment to this mission. Despite its premium quality, Fejeron, at the moment, is one of the most affordable blood tonics you will find in the Nigerian pharma market, and this is deliberate. All Nigerians should be able to take care of themselves,” the chief operating officer of Sterling Biopharma, Mr Adebayo Adepoju, said at the unveiling of the product in Lagos on Thursday, September 15.

He said the drug was formulated due to the nature of stress and fatigue that Nigerians encounter daily, which requires that their physical and mental well-being is well supported to function at its best.

“At Sterling Biopharma, we believe that everyone deserves to be able to buy simple prescription drugs without breaking the bank. This is why from the moment we entered the Nigerian market. With our wide range of products, we have made our intentions clear, and that is to make quality pharmaceutical products affordable for all Nigerians,” he stated.

Since its market introduction, Fejeron has quickly become one of the well-sought-after new brands in the pharmaceutical category. The Product Manager, Olumide Ogunremi, linked the warm embrace of the product to its quality and appeal to the needs of Nigerians.

“The quick acceptance of Fejeron Blood Tonic in Nigeria is not surprising. The enthusiasm to try out the product and the return purchases across the biggest pharmaceutical markets in Nigeria validate the quality of the product and timeliness of its emergence.”

On what makes Fejeron Blood Tonic unique, Mr Ogunremi promised that both the young and old would love the taste of Fejeron, adding that extra effort has also been put into ensuring that the product has fewer chances of causing common side effects like metallic after-taste, staining of the teeth; constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and others.

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Health

Agusto Foresees More Foreign Investments in Nigeria’s Healthcare System

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Nigeria's healthcare system

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that an increased foreign interest will drive growth in Nigeria’s healthcare system, especially through the acquisition and establishment of health facilities in the medium term.

Agusto said in a report that these foreign investments would help the country bridge the healthcare infrastructure deficit estimated at $82 million.

According to data, Nigeria is largely underfunded in terms of its health system and, as a result, is faced with a significant infrastructure gap.

The industry is currently challenged by outbound medical tourism, deteriorating medical infrastructure, low government budget allocation, and poor compensation for public healthcare workers, all of which have prompted many skilled medical practitioners to relocate overseas in search of better employment opportunities.

In addition, brain drain is also contributing to this as approximately 2,000 doctors leave the country each year, and at least 266 Nigerian doctors were licensed in the United Kingdom between June and July 2022, according to the National Medical Association (NMA).

Nigeria has also not been playing its part, with the health sector receiving only about 4 per cent (N546.98 billion) and 5 per cent (N724.6 billion) of the total budgetary allocation in Nigeria’s 2021 and 2022 budgets. This undershoots the 15 per cent expected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and African  Union (AU).

Agusto noted that the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 saw an increase in diagnostic facilities and, albeit insufficiently, an increase in public investments in the health sector with efforts from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Despite this, there remains more to be done, especially with the country’s large population facing a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, resulting in many people constantly seeking treatment.

Foreign investors have found the Nigerian healthcare system to be an attractive investment opportunity, and in 2021, the healthcare industry attracted around $2.3 million in foreign direct investments (FDI).

For instance, in February 2021, Evercare Group, through its emerging market health fund, established Evercare Hospital Lekki, a 165-bed multispecialty tertiary care facility.

Agusto predicts that the industry’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) will reach N480.6 billion by 2022 from N470.5 billion, based on the country’s high birth rate and the spread of communicable diseases as well as other common ailments such as malaria and respiratory tract infection.

It also expects that a lower rate of outbound medical tourism, as a result of the naira’s continued depreciation, will boost the industry’s contribution to GDP in the medium term.

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