In order to bring succour for indigent patients who cannot afford to pay for medical care, especially under emergency, the management of Health Emergency Initiative (HEI) said 324 beneficiaries have received support from HEI.
The organisation disclosed this during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the HEI executives and stakeholders, where the group rendered its financial report, which listed beneficiaries from HEI activities in the last one year. The AGM, which held recently, took place in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Out of the 324 beneficiaries, the Executive Director of HEI, Mr. Paschal Achunine said 40 accident victims and 70 children benefited from the HEI intervention project, adding that the population of children seem to be high because the children were more vulnerable.
According to him, more children within the poverty bracket were frequently treated for malnutrition, especially in the Massey Children Hospital and other public hospitals in Lagos State.
Achunine said that “Malnutrition seems to be prevalent among children, especially in the Massey Children Hospital, where children were frequently treated, adding that was a reflection of hardship in the country.
“More children within the poverty bracket result to losing basic nutrients and the immediate consequences of malnutrition are indigent patients that are found in public hospitals.”
During the meeting, it was reported that over N1 million was committed to the intervention of malnourished children, accident victims and other health emergencies, which were reported in 24 public hospitals including Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in the last one year.
One of the executive members of HEI, Mr. Kanayo Okonkwo said, “We have patients who could not afford to buy card; some cannot afford to pay after they have been discharged and there was this case of a malnourished child who was on oxygen whose parents could not afford to pay a bill of N1,800. Neither could they afford to buy needed drugs for this child.
“What we did with these public hospitals was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), making it possible for them to inform us when there were cases. “When there is accident victims they will inform us and we will go to settle the bills for indigent patients.
“Although, there are so many cases but we pick the ones we can handle.”
The Chairman Board of Trustees, Dr. Nnamdi Onuekwusi said, “HEI is a non-profit organisation, it is the only organ that has created a platform to support the indigent segment of the society, which are the poor in our midst to get health care, to pay bills for their health care for them in a very meaningful way and we have rescued lots of people.
“HEI stands in the gap for those who would have died because of inability to get some little financial support that is as little as N1000.
Some patients in that category died just because such cases could not be can treated because of N1000, but they died because of it.
Onuekwusi reasoned that although, such cases were serious issues that social welfare of government would have treated, but the patients died due to lack of access to care because of poor financial standing.
“It is important for Nigerians to recognise that there is now a platform for everybody to key into and contribute little money, which then becomes lumpsum that is used to treat people who require N1,000 or less in other to stay alive.
The Professor of Management Studies (rtd) at the University of Lagos, Professor Alloy Ejiogu said, “it is a beautiful intervention that is meant for the powerless and the helpless. These are the ones that the society tends to neglect and relegate to the background.
“But HEI has come as a rescue mission to bring them up. He described these people as the ones who don’t have anybody to ask them how they are feeling.