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Mr. Mike Idah, Sec Gen CHAN

CHRISTIAN Health Association Nigeria (CHAN) and Mission Hospitals and Institutions (MIs) in Lagos State have identified inability of indigent patients and the elderly to pay for services, and inadequate funds to pay and retain staff as some of the major challenges facing their quest to deliver better health care services to Nigerians.
They have also identified the shortage in free and subsidised drugs usually caused when donor agencies pull out from a health programme; lack of sustainability plan; and poor logistic support from Local Government Areas (LGAs) and states.
Catholic Archdiocesan Health/HIV Coordinator of the 40 Mission Hospitals in Lagos State, Rev. Sr. Roseline Bambe, on Tuesday at an advocacy interactive session with CHAN said: “We are battling with indigent patients and the elderly. They do not have money to pay for the medical services. They think that the services are free. How do we survive it? Who will continue to bear the cost?
“However, we have a structure where St. Vincent Justice and Trust verifies the claims by the indigent patients before the church can help. We have 40 health facilities with division of labour into primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals.
“We also have problems with retention of staff because we cannot pay as well as government hospitals. Our own first mission is to save lives because it is part of Christ’s healing mission.”
Bambe was corroborated by a physician at Hoare’s Memorial Methodist Cathedral Clinic, Sabo, Yaba, Dr. Osunyomi Ope; Head, Pharmacy Departmenty Catholic Archdiocese, Mr. Frank M. Okafor; and Head, Catholic Primary Health Care (PHC) Clinic, Rev. Sr. Anne Fianlong.
Bambe said that the shortage of Tuberculosis (TB) drugs at Kirikiri Prisons has led to epidemic of the wasting disease at the centre. She also said that the mission hospitals also experience shortage of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) test kits and drugs in some of the centres. The Reverend Sister blamed this on winding up of donor-funded programmes.
Secretary General of CHAN, Dr. Daniel Nanshep Gobgab, said: “We have come to Lagos for advocacy interaction programme with MIs that are in Lagos state. And that falls under one of our mandate as leaders of the Association to be able to hold regular interactive sessions with MIs in several states in order to articulate what are the issues, what challenges they are going through and define what will be the way forward so that together, collectively we can present that to our board who will assist them in policy decision and also to interact with key stakeholders in health such as the state ministries of health and other health care delivery service stakeholders, so that we can see how we will be able to better improve the health of all Nigerians.”
On how he intends to tackle the challenges faced by the MIs, Gobgad said: “Generally anybody that is implementing any form of social service is likely to face some of these challenges. For us as Christians many people come to our facilities thinking they are doing charity work and even if they come they have to pay a token. Sometimes they realise that it is not as token as expected and therefore they end up as indigent patients and therefore it becomes a challenge for them.