© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
It takes four hours to see a doctor at Wuse District Hospital, Abuja
NOT less than four hours is what it takes a patient to see a doctor at Wuse District Hospital, Abuja. For three days, The ICIR observed patients spend several hours in the waiting area.
Being her first time in the hospital, Aisha Aminu (real name withheld) was instructed to pay N700 to the account section to open a medical file for her sick baby.
With the baby on her back and a bag at hand, Aminu joined a queue of about 30 persons around 10 am. The cashier, a woman who appeared to be in her fifties, kept adjusting her eyeglasses as she collected monies, input data on the system and printed out receipts.
Those on the line started complaining because the queue moved slowly.
“The hospital should bring young persons, at least three, to do this job,” said a person who was behind Aminu.
Around 11:05 am Aminu was able to make the payment to open a file in the hospital. On getting to the medical record section with her receipt, the man in charge of the section was leaving his seat. When he came back after about 15 minutes later, and the people in the long queue that has been formed asked him why he had wasted their time. He shouted: “I’m not a computer, I went to the toilet.”
Eventually, she was attended to around 11:37 am and a file was handed to her.
She proceeded to the paediatrics clinic to submit her file. Here, she joined a long line of patients waiting to see a doctor. She was only able to see a doctor around 2:30 pm. But her child’s problem was not yet attended to.
“I have to come again tomorrow,” Aminu told The ICIR, adding that the doctor she was referred to was not in the office.
If Gwarinpa General Hospital had a paediatrician, she would not have come to Wuse where patients were not given prompt attention, she said.
Other mothers had similar complaints.
Another mother at the paediatric ward said to no one in particular: “I have been in this hospital with my baby since 7 am, up till now(1:00 pm), I’ve not seen any doctor. What if the child is about to die? You people should pity us now.”
In the paediatric ward on Tuesday, there were only two doctors attending to patients. People lamented that the number of doctors is low compared to the huge number of patients that troop into the hospital everyday.
“They should request for more doctors because we are suffering here,” a nursing mother complained. “If you talk, they will shout at you. Since 11 am, I have done the vital signs, I am yet to see a doctor at 2:03 pm.”
The ICIR observed that at a certain time, there were no more seats for patients, so every new arrival were standing up in the waiting area.
A senior staff of the hospital who spoke with The ICIR said the facilities which have been in Wuse General Hospital for years have not expanded while the population of the patients keeps increasing.
She said the hospital tends to be more patronised because it is a public hospital at the hub of Abuja, and it is close to the Wuse market. And with the increasing population, the hospital cannot provide adequate service for patients, she said.
Another staff of the hospital said the e-health system that was recently adopted by the hospital has been challenging, therefore, has not quickened the hospital processes as expected. She said the computers used for keeping medical records sometimes fail to respond, or the network fails to connect.