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Intensive Care services: Consultant urges govt. to scale up health insurance

A hospital Managing Consultant, Dr. Chiemelu Emegoakor, has urged federal and state governments to scale up the scope of health insurance to enable enrollees to have access to Intensive Care services.

He made the call at the inauguration of Eldorado Hospital Multi-Specialist Intensive Care Unit in Awka on Sunday.

He said Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was expensive to set up and to maintain, “Which makes it not easily accessible for most Nigerians and the current Health Insurance Scheme is not designed to cover it.”

The expert said ICUs were near nonexistent in South East Nigeria, adding that the major challenge to quality healthcare delivery in the private sector were cost of power supply and inability of patients to pay for services.

He said “there is paucity of ICU centres in South East, sadly, there is almost none before COVID-19; it was after the outbreak that people started establishing ICUs in the area.

“ICU is capital intensive to set up, for this one, we spent about N50 million, a lot of money is needed to maintain it and pay professionals who use them.

“It is expensive to run and the at the moment, it is not covered under health insurance. I am aware that government is working to scale up the cover, I want to appeal that they should do so.

“This will help enrollees of health insurance to access that level of healthcare service because it is not easy for out of pocket payment.”

Emegoakor said ICU centres were critical to health service delivery as they took care of patients with life threatening ailments before and after surgery.

He added that the categories of patients included those who underwent surgery for head injury, severe heart disease, cardiac arrest, sudden cessation of heartbeat, irregular heartbeat and severe accidents.

According to him, the launch of the ICU will take care of critically ill people.

“This ICU is equipped with Multipurpose Cardiac Monitor, Infusion Pump, Syringe Pump, Ventilator Machine, Arleta Blood Gas and Defibrillator Machine,” he said.

Declaring the ICU centre open, the Commissioner for Health in Anambra, Dr. Vincent Okpala, lauded the management of the hospital for providing such facility in the state with up to date equipment.

Okpala said it would go a long way to complementing the efforts of government, adding that private sector health were doing great in helping to achieve an efficient sector in the state.

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