For about five days beginning Friday last week, all roads led to the ROA Hospital & Surgical Centre, a comprehensive health care facility located on Arepo Road, off Lagos- Ibadan expressway, in Ogun State, where a “medical mission” was in session.
From dawn till dusk, the health facility was agog as scores of men, women and children from different parts of Lagos and Ogun States, thronged the premises to benefit from the high quality healthcare services offered by the hospital.
Numerous procedures ranging from routine and non-emergency medical procedures such as malaria fever and abdominal disorders to those requiring more intensive attention and even surgeries, were carried out by a team of local and internationally-certified doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.
There were repairs of hernias and clavicle fractures. Complications such as prostatectomies, as well as other laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeries were taken care of, in addition to a wide range of complaints from all those who were open to recieve the medical service. All the high-level interventions were carried out at highly subsidized rates.
Access to care
Essentially, the medical mission was targeted at people who have no direct access good medical care because they do not have the financial means to consult qualified doctors.
“The medical mission is designed to bring standard medical care to those in need, and those who otherwise would not be able to see competent medical experts. The main reason this hospital is open is because it is trying to give back to the people,” said Dr. Abiola Ajayi, Managing Director at ROA Hospital & Surgical Centre/Clinic.
Ajayi, who is also CEO, Rexonike Ventures and an expert in medical and information technology, spoke shortly after he emerged from the surgical theatre after the completion one of the surgical procedures earmarked for the medical mission, stressed that too many Nigerians lacked access to adequate medical care.
“The hospital is trying to give back to the people. We started this because a lot of people engage in medical tourism, leaving Nigeria to get substandard treatment in other countries, but even though they sometimes get good treatment, it is unfortunate for a rich country suc as Nigeria to be in this position,” he said.
An expert in General Medicine, Ajayi, who trained at the Kent State University and Northeastern Ohio Universities, College of Medicine, remarked that the medical mission has become neccesary to enable every Nigerian get access to affordable, comprehensive medical service.
“So, we decided to bring to the people what we know of the American health standard. Our Chairman, Dr. Rex Ajayi, is a practising urologist in the United States of America for 30 years, He is my father, and it was his vision to create a standard hospital in Nigeria where everything done in the United States of America can be done here. Since I’ve been here, I have tried to make that dream happen.”
Although the first medical mission held last year, the Centre has had good outcomes in the numerous intensive care surgeries carried out since inception in 2007.
“Over the course of this year’s medical mission and in conjunction with an eye centre in Ibadan, the ROA health Centre is conducting special eye and general health checkups as well as treatment. Surgeries just like the one I just came out of now would normally cost N75, 000, but the patient barely paid N5,000. For a prostatectomy that would normally cost N230, 000, the patient spent about N25,000.’
Continuing, the Medical Director noted: We see many cases that have been around for long, these people have gone around looking for help, but have been unable to afford treatment found someone able to diagnose their condition.
The facility has few limitations. “There is a wide range of consultants from general surgery to urology, gynecologists and there really isn’t much we cannot handle. There is a pharmacy, and in-house laboratory.
“We do not make referrals because we have brought in consultants that can handle the referrals. In the future, we hope to begin training in endoscopic and laparoscopic surgery.
“Here, services cost far less than in public or private hospitals. The costs are subsidised by as much as 90 percent during the mission. All the consultations are free. As a patient, you’re paying far less. Daily, during the mission, no less than 100 patients were accommodated in addition to 10 surgeries depending on the severity of cases.
There are five operating theatres, and a mixture of expertise comprising Nigerians trained abroad and in Nigeria, as well as some Americans. At last year’s mission, 14 expatriates – 10 from the US and other countries – were in attendance.
Expertise & need
“I have only just started promoting this place and already we have a large turn out. There is a great need for good health services for Nigerians who are desirous of expertise and surgery and other forms of treatment.”
“Here, the average Nigerian doesn’t have health insurance like they do in the United States where insurance covers most of the medical costs, but that is not to take anything away from Nigeria. Even in the US, a lot of primary care and a lot of Nigerians are practicing there. We have the knowledge, we just don’t have the resources at the common level.
“We have a mixture of Western and spiritual medicine. We do go for a lot of home remedies, but I will say that those home remedies, spiritual remedies that sometimes don’t make sense. Effort should be made to get proper diagnosis before you start treating ailments.”