There were mixed reactions in the Board Room of the National Orthopeadic Hospital Igbobi, Lagos (NOHIL) recently, as the Medical Director, Dr Olurotimi Odunubi, briefed journalists on the institution’s journey from way back in December 1945, when it was established as a medical centre, under the British Colonial medical services.
Odunubi who was filled with gratitude to God and all philanthropists who contributed to the immense development of the hospital, however lamented the sharp decrease in subvention from government, which drastically dropped from an average of N7 Million to N2.5 Million.
“This was a major challenge for a government-funded establishment like ours where government pays staff’s salary, gives overhead and has capital vote. With this development, we had to source for internally generated revenue to cope with our monthly cost of running the institution. For instance, we use an average of N4.1million worth of diesel monthly, with other costs inclusive,” he said.
He added that: “Nonetheless, on this occasion of our 70th anniversary, we are not ungrateful to the Federal government, for its unrelenting support to the NOHIL, even in the face of dwindling economy, as we are hopeful of better allocation in the coming years, for the provision of improved, international standard orthopaedic beds and plastic surgical services to the populace”, he stated.
Explaining reasons for the minimal increase in patients’ fees, Odunubi attributed it to the shortfall in subvention to the hospital, saying that the institution was still open to receive all injured patients, with or without payment, adding that their speedy recovery what mattered most to the caregivers, as payment can be made later.
He, however, assured the citizens of better services ahead, stating that the hospital was poised to give excellent services to the public after the platinum anniversary, appreciating all donors to the institution since inception, especially, Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Adebutu Kessington Foundation, Santana Group, among others.
Head of Clinical Services, NOHIL, Dr Mike Ugbeye disclosed the milestones achieved by the institute in the past ten years, including provision of highly specialised care in arthroscopic orthopaedic; recognition as the first orthopaedic hospital in the West African Sub-region; emergence as the first centre to train prosthetics/orthotics manpower at the ND and HND levels in Nigeria; training of 68 per cent of all consultant orthopaedic surgeons in the country, among others.
He also mentioned how the institution had enjoyed partnership with other private organisations, including a foreign firm which sponsored the cost of hip replacement for sickle cell patients in conjunction with Sickle Cell Foundation, at a cost of N1 million per hip replacement for twelve patients.
Ugbeye also called on the government to extend the coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover all the services rendered in the hospital, in order to reduce the financial burden on patients, adding that the institute has a record of N25 million to N30 million unrecoverable bills per annum.