The Garkuwa Hospital in Kaduna
By Zainab Yusuf Auchi
Sometimes, I don’t blame rich Nigerians who engage in medical tourism abroad to seek standard medical care even on none life threatening ailments that can be treated without much fuss or hassles.
The reasons are not far fetched. It is based on the fact that majority of Nigeria’s hospitals have been turned to mere consulting centers in which even the most basic ailments are difficult to come by, let alone complex medical challenges that need complex procedures to tackle.
As Nigeria’s economy bites harder, many Nigerians considerably find it difficult to indulge in medical tourism abroad; they could not turn to public health institutions either because they have been annihilated by corruption and other sundry infringements to the extent, government hospitals are regarded as mere death traps.
It is in view of the foregoing that majority of Nigerians switched to private hospitals with the hope of getting a fair and better deal since patients are responsible for their medical expenditure.
But with the consistent drift in the health sector, the private medical facilities have also been bastardized and have been turned by greedy, conscienceless and rapacious practitioners to centers where hapless and helpless Nigerians who are bedevilled by health challenges could be fleeced of their hard earned moneys with Impunity.
The activities of these health centers have over the years constituted a thorn in the flesh of patients who after being made to cough out substantial funds ended being cheated, leading to unsavoury consequences on the part of the patients while the unscrupulous operators of such health centers smile to the banks with their ill gotten money.
It is in this context that Garkuwa hospital, located at the heart of the Government Reservation Area (GRA) Kaduna, could be situated.
The hospital, according to insider sources has been operating with blithe regard for rules and ethical conduct as its owners craftily made it another money spinning venture which produced high yield to them at the detriment of the patients who are made to pay extortionate amounts only to receive poor medical services that are not quite commensurate with the amount paid.
The scenario in the hospital was aptly captured by professor Adamu Gwarzo who said; ” The operators of Garkuwa hospital are a bunch of unconscionable businessmen making best use of our rudderless environment to make business with people’s lives.”
He said, the attitude of the management of the hospital towards the welfare of patients only suggested to him that the hospital was a contraption meant to extort money from Nigerians with health challenges without caring a hoot about whether they survive their health travails or not.
The professor noted that the sheer impunity raging in the hospital is better imagined than witnessed and can only take place in a polity where respect for human life has been thrown over board for selfish and pecuniary goals.
Gwarzo said, he was surprised by the audacity of the hospital which after collecting a deposit of N200,000 from him, administer only one drip to the patient three days after she was admitted, adding that the hospital cannot similarly produce the result of a laboratory test, two days after the patient’s blood has been taken, at a time the patient was wallowing in anguish and pains, noting that such lacklustre attitude, is a recipe for disaster, which in this case means “death.”
He noted that when he lodged a complaint to one of the doctors about the poor services rendered to his patient, the only response he could get was that he should have read medicine if he thought managing a hospital was easy.
Gwarzo noted that piqued by the intransigent mannerism of the medical doctor, coupled with the lethargic disposition of the staff towards his ailing patient, he was left with the only option of relocating the patient to another hospital, adding that even as at the time he left the hospital, the authorities did not furnish him with account of the expenditure he incurred let alone gave him balance if there was any.
The concerns of Gwarzo was reechoed by a hospital insider who said the hospital has for a long time deployed double edged-sleazy measures to shortchange both patients and the teeming staff of the organization whom get only subsistent salary at the end of the month despite putting long hours of service on daily basis.
The source noted that in a scorched earth move to cut personnel cost, the hospital mostly request the services of corps members who are largely inexperienced, adding to the woeful overall performance in giving patients value for their money, noting that despite the poor services, the hospital continue to record high volume of patients as it was approved by NHIS.
Findings have revealed that the hospital is a case study in wanton neglect, with mosquito infested wards, broken and smelly toilets and dysfunctional air conditioning system making patients and their relatives to be highly exposed to the eventualities of hospital acquired infections.