Dr Ibrahim Mustafa, Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), has urged the Federal Government to upgrade the nation’s biometric system toward reducing the incidence of unknown patients.
Mustafa said this during the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Chapter Physicians’ Week on Wednesday in Lagos.
The theme of the conference was “Care of the unknown patient: Policy overview.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that unknown patients are the patient whose identity cannot be ascertained at the time of arrival to the hospital.
Mustafa said that unknown patients posed a diagnostic and management challenge to treating physicians and staff, saying that retrieving data of such patients from system would ensure patient safety.
“If you have fingerprints of everyone, you can easily pull a patient’s data out, once that is done, unknown patients becomes zero,” he said.
Mustafa urged the federal and state governments to evolve policies to identify the gravity of the problem toward formulating workable solutions to deliver accessible healthcare to citizens.
He urged the government to develop central helpline facility and increase the number of mobile emergency clinics to ensure prompt service to unknown citizens.
Earlier, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, said the theme was a strong reminder to devote more human and financial resources to saving lives and giving hope to Nigerians in need of medical care.
Mamora, represented by Dr Adedamola Dada, Managing Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, said that advocacy and discussions by stakeholders was necessary to increase awareness among Nigerians on the need to assess and receive quality healthcare.
“As part of the commitment of government to ensure adequate care to its citizens, the Federal House of Representatives passed a resolution in February 2017 for government medical institutions to save the lives of victims of gun-shot injuries before demanding for police report,” he said.
Mamora said that the ministry has communicated the resolution to all Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary health institutions, and to be replicated in all states.
He urged the doctors to reciprocate government’s gesture of providing effective health services to the vulnerable group with dedication and commitment to their duty.
The minister restated government’s determination to ensure that Nigerians receive quality healthcare at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Also, Dr Saliu Oseni, Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Chapter, decried the absence of an existing policy in the care of unknown patient in the nation’s health sector, thus denying such patients easy access to qualitative health care both in private and public hospitals.
Oseni advocated the inclusion of care of the unknown patient in the Health Insurance Scheme, saying the approach would ensure continued qualitative care to unknown patients and allay fear of financial loss to service providers.
NAN reports that an award ceremony was held as part of the conference to celebrate the Physician of the Year in the public and private sector.
Dr Adedamola Dada, Managing Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, emerged as the Physician of the Year for the public sector while for the private sector, Dr Blessing Chukwukwelu, Consultant Family Physician, Eko Hospital, was recognised.