Some senior citizens in Lagos State on Tuesday called on Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to employ more doctors and increase drugs available in public hospitals to enhance healthcare delivery.

The elders were among patients at the General Hospital Ifako-Ijaiye when the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Health Services, led by Mr Segun Olulade, visited the hospital.

Olulade took time to interview patients across different sections of the public health facility, who complained of delays in being attended to.

A retired civil servant, Mr Isaac Oyewole, told the lawmakers that shortage of personnel, especially doctors, had been hampering healthcare delivery at the hospital.

Oyewole, a retired officer from the state Ministry of Works said: “The insufficient number of doctors has been affecting genuine service delivery here.

“We have suffered a lot for the state. We need not to suffer to get standard healthcare.

“In fact, if it is possible, the government can create a special hospital for senior citizens.’’

According to him, more can be done through provision of free quality drugs for old people.

Mr Isiaka Ahmed, a 69-year-old patient said that the slow pace of attending to patients remained worrisome to the old people.

“These health officers are trying, but the workers are not sufficient at all. If a doctor is attending to so many patients, he or she cannot go far before getting tired.

“It is so slow that since 6 a.m. that I got here, I have not been attended to as at 12 noon.

“I have been sitting for hours and my legs are now swollen; government should do more in engaging more hands,’’ Ahmed said,

He also complained that only drugs that were not expensive were usually available while the patients would have to buy the expensive ones.

Mr Lawrence Fabunmi, another elderly patient, said, “the problem here is shortage of personnel and drugs.

“The process is so slow and time consuming, government should help us.’’

Another senior citizen, Mrs Esther Afolabi, said there was a need to provide more facilities, especially a gymnasium for physiotherapy, in the hospital.

Responding, Olulade said the government could not do it alone, but had commenced the process of engaging more personnel to address their concern.

The lawmaker urged residents to always visit primary health centres to de-congest secondary health facilities.

“Too many patients have neglected the primary health centres which are effectively functioning. They have multiplied the burden of doctors here over small ailments that can be handled at the primary level.

“We want to urge people to use our PHCs because we have fixed them. While we will engage more hands, we want the people to always start from PHCs. This will strengthen our referral processes.

“Let no one doubt the commitment of government to provision of  effective and efficient health services,’’ he said.

The lawmaker said that the House was passionate about providing quality healthcare services for the people at the grassroots.

Olulade, who charged all the health officers to shun all tendencies to engage in unprofessional conduct, urged them to safeguard themselves from infections.

In her remark, the Acting Medical Director, Dr (Mrs) Erivea Kuti, identified inadequate nurses and doctors, space constraints and overcrowding as major challenges facing the hospital.

“We rotate our doctors across sections because the demand is high. Patients come from Ogun, Oyo, even as far as Anambra, to access health care here and we cannot send them away.

“We will continue to improve as the government has shown great commitment. However, we need more nurses and doctors. Another challenge is space,’’ Kuti said.

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She called for more awareness for people to use primary health centres, to de-congest population at general hospital.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports than the committee, which commenced an on-the-spot assessment of Primary Healthcare Centres across the state on Friday, has visited hospitals and PHCs at Agege and Orile-Agege council areas.

The committee, on Tuesday, also inspected facilities across PHCs in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area.