Health experts have expressed mixed reactions over the proposed plan by the Lagos State Assembly to upgrade five general hospitals to the tertiary level, saying the plan is a misplaced priority.
The experts expressed the views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Dr Kayode Adesola, the National President, Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners, said the plan was a waste of scarce resources considering prevailing challenges in the health sector.
Adesola stated that upgrading general hospitals to tertiary hospitals was futile without necessary medical personnel.
According to him, many hospitals are struggling to recruit and retain health care workers.
“The building and equipment will not do the work.
“The lawmakers should legislate on policies that will attract and retain health care workers, to stem the tide of brain drain in the state,” he said.
Adesola called for the strengthening of the Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) across the state, to decongest and reduce pressure on the secondary and tertiary hospitals.
“The PHCs should be the goal, once you strengthen it, you’ve taken care of 80 per cent of health cases.
“Let’s concentrate on what will help everybody, not just giving out contracts and building structures,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Babajide Aderibigbe, a health economist, said that the utmost priority of tertiary hospitals should be in the areas of advanced medical care.
Aderibigbe, however, observed that in spite of the laudable strides of LASUTH, the hospital was not judiciously utilised for its core health service delivery.
He said that reports from the hospital showed that 80 per cent of cases brought to the teaching hospital could be handled by the PHCs and general hospitals.
“LASUTH keeps expending human and material resources on primary health care cases rather than treating specialised cases, which are its competence.
“This is a major issue that the lawmakers should legislate on resolving because the challenge would be replicated in the upgraded general hospitals.
“Even if there would be an upgrade of general hospitals to tertiary level, five is much for now, and the aim shouldn’t be based on sentiments,” he said.
However, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos Zone, said the proposed upgrade was necessary, to meet the increasing population of the state and reduce the strain on health care resources.
Olowojebutu said that the new addition would increase residency training for doctors and specialised care for the citizens.
He stated that PHCs are the bedrock of health care globally.
Olowojebutu emphasised the need for increased sensitisation on the use of PHCs for primary health care cases and a robust referral system for specialised cases.
Not was reported that the Lagos State House of Assembly on Jan. 23 adopted recommendations of its Committee on Health Services for the proposed upgrade of five general hospitals to tertiary health institutions.
The general hospitals situated in the state’s five divisions are in Badagry, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Epe and Lagos Island.