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Workers demand improved healthcare services

24 June 2015, 06:45

Lagos - Some workers in the public service on Tuesday in Lagos called on the three tiers of government and private organisations to guarantee improved healthcare services for better performances.

They made the appeal in interviews as part of the activities marking the Public Service Day celebration.

The United Nations has declared every June 23 for the day.

A worker in a private organisation in Lagos, Roberta Edu, said that workers’ productivity could be affected by their mental and physical status.

Edu said that only a healthy person could be productive.

"One of the main issues affecting workers is the health status; a sick person cannot be productive no matter how.

"It is a function of a good car engine producing good mileage.

"Where I work, there is no provision for either a clinic or a designated hospital for treatment, but this is being enjoyed by workers in other organisations," she said.

Another public servant, Tomi Ogunleye, said that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was supposed to be providing healthcare to the workers was not living up to its responsibilities.

"We need a vibrant healthcare scheme.

"The NHIS is fraught with many bottlenecks such as inability to register and when registration is done, the identity cards are not issued on time to the beneficiaries.

"There are times when there may be need to access the scheme, but what we got was obstruction.

"Even, some said the treatment we came for was not captured under the NHIS, so we have to pay for such services.

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"We only got treatment for common malaria, when it comes to treatment of ailments that require scanning, the hospital would be unwilling to provide the services and refers us to other hospitals.

"Some health facilities also treat NHIS enrollees with disdain or as second class patients that do not merit quality service," she said.

Also, a human resources expert, Dennis Aribido, said that it was not an explicit law that an organisation should provide healthcare facilities for workers.

"What is required under the law is a first aid services in case of emergencies.

"Providing for sick bay or clinic for healthcare services is not an explicit law that is binding on private organisations.

"However, each organisation can make arrangement for its workers to access quality healthcare facilities as it may be convenient for it, such an organisation is not duty bound to provide such.

"In the advent of a more convenient insurance scheme, it is more affordable to join the NHIS which can provide for the missing link which workers have been agitating for.

"I think government is now trying to make NHIS compulsory at all levels, either private or public.

"With this, we can have a better robust provision of healthcare facilities to all workers," he said.

In his comment, Patrick Korie, the Managing Director, Managed Healthcare Services (NHIS provider), said that the scheme has been very successful.

"Health management organisations have been excellent because of the transformation the scheme has recorded in the healthcare delivery to the enrollees.

"Looking at the objective of the scheme, it is aimed at making healthcare available to Nigerians and stops the rising cost of medical care and standardisation of healthcare.

"Health insurance scheme provides avenue for the less privileged people to have absolute healthcare like the rich. I see this as a wonderful revolution," Korie said.



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