Who cares better for the sick Public or private hospitals?

The human body breaks down occasionally because of several factors and the next course of action is to rid it of whatever the problem might be. This is usually where hospitals come in. Features Xtra investigates which health care provider does the better job, according to people.
Health is wealth; this is a saying that is commonly and freely used, especially when advising people to pay more attention to their health. Health is an important factor that aids human beings to pursue whatever dreams they have in life. The absence of good health makes plans made by man to be unattainable.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is so much interested in the health of nations of the world because it is aware that any health problem in any nation is capable of wreaking havoc on the entire globe, and since it is good and healthy citizens that can grow the wealth of a nation, no nation can toy with the health of its people.

In Nigeria, there are two groups responsible for the delivery of healthcare; those who practice western medicine, and the age-long traditional healers. However, the focus of Features Xtra is the practice of western medicine in Nigeria.

To some people, government hospitals are abattoirs, as those who patronise them end up in their morgues. The fears nursed by the antagonists of government hospitals begin with the alleged poor attitude of health workers in government hospitals (a similar trend in the public sector), to the dearth of medication, aside from other considerations. For such people, there is respite in patronising privately owned hospitals, which they believe, have well mannered staff with better attitude to their work, and are under an entrepreneur who would not want his business concern to collapse. They also believe that, there is adequate medication in such hospitals, as compared to the public hospitals, where you are told to purchase your drugs from patent medicine dealers. Their reasons are yet to be exhausted.

However, some people have never patronised privately owned hospitals for the fear of being made guinea pigs. To them, most of the privately owned hospitals are not well staffed as they believe that doctors in these places are Jacks of all trades as compared to public hospitals where there are specialists for each kind of health problem, and each person knows his limit.
The people believe that most of the staff in the privately owned hospitals are not skilled enough in the science and art of dispensing western medication, consequently engaging in trial and error exercises which could be dangerous to the patient’s health.

According to Adebayo Abiodun, people shy away from public hospitals due to overcrowding which is as a result of poverty in the land.
He said in private hospitals, it is cash and carry but medical fees in public hospitals are cheaper because these hospital were established by government to provide social services and not to make profit, hence the crowd.

Another reason, according to Mr Abiodun, is hinged on the fact that many nurses and other hospital workers in government hospitals are rude to patients “if you lodge a complaint about a medical worker in the private hospital, such a worker would be severly reprimanded but public complaint process in public hospitals is more tedious,”he observed adding that “in private hospitals the authorities are more willing to listen to complaints because there are many options. Another private hospital could just be some 500 meters away, so they are always guided by the axiom that “customers are always  right.”
Mr Abiodun further noted that private hospitals offer more personalised care.

Mrs Charity Oboh was of the view that private hospitals offer 24 hour service unlike some public hospitals where doctors are attending one seminar or the other leaving the nurses to diagnose and prescribe medications which is outside their purview. Said Rita Amaga “I prefer private hospitals because the protocol is not as tediious as what obtains in the public hospital especially in cases of emergencies. In certain government hospitals the patient would need to be accompanied by two or three relations who would do the running around. But in private hospitals, all you need is to be able to say what is wrong with you; and once you can pay the bill, you are given the necessary attention.

Dr A.L. Lanloye, the medical director of Peace Hospital located at Ojokondo Area, Water Resources Bus Stop, Agbowo, Ibadan, reiterated that the time factor is the main attraction to private hospitals. He said patients are promptly attended to especially in cases of emergencies because private hospitals do not have too many people to attend to at a point in time unlike the public hospitals, where there are thousands of patients and few doctors.”

He observed further that apart from the good human relations between patients and the medical personnel in private hospitals, they are usually located in conducive environment.
Mr Kingsley, a commercial motorcyclist, said that he does not attend any hospital because that is not his covenant with God. When asked which of the two he visited when ill, he said, “neither of the two, I and my family attend Jesus Christ hospital”. According to him, God has given him good health, so he does not bother about hospitals.
Another person, Miss Gift Abayomi, said that she would rather go to private hospital than the public or government-owned hospitals. She said that the private hospitals seemed to know how to attend to patients better than government hospitals. She said, “when you need medical attention, and you go to a privately-run hospital, they will not only attend to you well, they will do it in time. But all this depends on if you have the money to pay because they charge higher than public hospitals”. She, however, said that she would pick a government hospital like the teaching hospitals over private ones if the sickness is not a general sickness because teaching hospitals seem to have better equipment and experience in such areas.

A nurse in one of the teaching hospitals in the country, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that, although things had not been so good at general hospitals in the past, the services are getting better. She said that, “it is true that, in the past, nurses and other care-givers in public hospitals treated patients brashly, but that is drastically changing.

“What causes delay in public hospitals now is that there are too many people coming for treatment, and they are often impatient to be attended to. In addition to this, several of them come and expect to be treated without paying the token that is even expected of them,” she said. She said further that the public hospitals have better experience in treating certain sicknesses because they have access to research and better experienced doctors.

Mr Waheed Ganiyu, a lecturer cum public relations practitioner, said he preferred the government hospital to the private hospital.

He explained that the cost of treatment in the government hospital is more affordable as it is not as costly as what obtains in the private hospital.
Also, he said the government hospital is well equipped with necessary equipment and qualified personnel.
Corroborating him, Mr. Wasiu Damilare Dauda, narrated an ugly experience he had at a private hospital in town to FeaturesXtra.
According to him, his sister was due to be delivered of a baby and when she fell in labour, she was rushed to the private hospital where she had registered for her pre and antenatal care.
Unfortunately, the doctor/owner of the clinic, who also worked in a government hospital was not around. Complications set in and his sister had to be operated upon. His sister survived the surgery but the baby was not so fortunate, it died.
Different stories for different folks, it seems, going by Mr. Yemi Samuel Oludele’s story.
The chief executive officer of Onward Professional Institute, University of Ibadan second Gate, Ibadan,  Mr. Oludele said he does not prefer either the government or private hospital as he does not visit either.

Calling on his son, Maxwell, to bear him out, the man, who is in his early fifties, said he could not remember when last he visited a hospital.
In his words, “we don’t visit the hospital. We use agbo” (herbal mixtures), Maxwell, an undergraduate student of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, volunteered.
As far as Miss Adeolu Adetunji, a 500 level Veterinary Medicine Student of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, is concerned, government hospital is the best.

She, however, noted that it has a lot of limitations.
She said majority of the workers display lackadaisical attitude while the process the patient has to undergo before seeing the doctor is too long.
“Whoever is attending the government hospital should be prepared to spend a whole day there,” she added.
She also said the queue of patients, waiting to see the doctor is usually too long and that the process is time consuming.

Although the cost is reduced and the staff, well trained and experienced, Miss Adetunji said the staff in government hospitals are fond of embarking on incessant strikes.
In the words of Mr. Bayonle Opadotun, government hospitals are just beautiful edifices without drugs and necessary equipment.

Narrating his experience to FeaturesXtra, he said he saved some accident victims on Okaaka-Iseyin road recently and had to buy drugs worth over N5,000 at the Iseyin General Hospital where he took them, before treatment was commenced on them.

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