By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos – Two doctors in Lagos State on Friday urged the three tiers of government to put in place measures that would care for the vulnerable and people with other disease conditions apart from COVID-19.
A General Practitioner, Dr Femi Ogunremi and a Family Physician, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to them, a lot of other medical conditions have been affected, because care to those diseases have drastically reduced as resources and time are being dedicated to COVID-19.
Ogunremi, also the Chief Executive Officer, Monitor Healthcare Ltd, a medical communications and technology company, said there was need to find ways of balancing and carrying on with other medical conditions.
According to him, stakeholders in the health sector need to find a safe parallel way to get people who still need to be followed up on, seen and taken care of adequately.
“We should still create an environment whereby those who have chronic illnesses will be followed up and seen.
“However, we still have to maintain social distancing, and all necessary hygiene precautions we have been talking about to prevent COVID-19 spreading.
“We can dedicate a particular place for people with chronic illnesses,” he said.
The doctor said that working on an appointment basis would be appropriate in this critical time in order for people with other health conditions to access healthcare.
He said, alternatively, using mobile or tele-health were key methods that stakeholders should explore.
“We have an App, AreaDoc, that we have been pushing out and try to get some of our patients that need follow up to access care through the platform.
“We try to see how we can actually work around creating an environment that is safe; it is crucial to see how we can expand our mobile healthcare activities as a way to balance the system, ” Ogunremi said.
Also, Sodipo, who works at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja and currently the Chairman, Medical Guild, Lagos, said there was need for the government to consistently increase funding to the nation’s health sector.
He said that health insurance played a critical role in solving cost for other medical conditions.
“It is more of a challenge in developing countries where they have challenges with health insurance, and where they do not have fully developed system of people being able to practice tele-medicine.
“Another thing the government can do is to sort out the issue of access to medications for people that have chronic medical conditions.
“There has to be locations where people can access medications; for instance, have a phone in system where we can call patients, review them over the telephone.
“Also, governments need to work with the pharmaceutical companies and provide subsidies to patients,” Sodipo said.