Published April 4, 2022, 5:54 p.m. by None
Access to primary healthcare is widely recognized as a key enabler of population health. According to Lancet research measuring health system performance considering healthcare access and quality as criteria, Nigeria is ranked 142 out of 195 countries. Although the National Health Act guarantees all Nigerians access to healthcare through a basic minimum package of health services, the package has faced significant challenges in terms of dissemination and implementation, with several state governments lagging behind in implementing it at the ward level. Furthermore, because individuals prefer to visit hospitals, primary health care services are underutilized and bypassed. Primary health care is suffering as a result of ineffective governance and accountability structures, underpaid health-care personnel, and inadequately enforced transparency and procurement regulations. This is evident in rising health-care costs, shortages of key pharmaceuticals, and unnecessary deaths in health-care institutions, particularly in the country's primary health-care centres. There are numerous regulations and services in place to make medical procedures more accessible, but adhering to them can be challenging without the necessary information or equipment. Of course, most practices will already have certain physical features in place to assist persons with impairments, but when it comes to virtual features, many people will become confused. Of course, all of these inaccessible medical practices have created certain difficulties for patients. These are some of them: Complications in Travel Living in a remote place might be difficult for people who require a specialty doctor. Many people with impairments have trouble getting to and from their doctor's office. Because of where they live, people may receive little or subpar healthcare. A Scarcity of Providers Lack of suitable medical providers in a person's area, similar to travel issues, might make it difficult to obtain proper healthcare. The absence of skilled and experienced doctors within easy reach is the main problem for rural populations. According to statistics, with Nigeria’s population at about 200 million, the ratio of doctor per patient remains 1:5000 as against the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of 1:600, which poses severe risk on the health of the populace as health indicators may continue to decline and get worse. Having Difficulty Finding Work. Discrimination and prejudice in the workplace due to disability is a major issue in and of itself. In the year 2000, 37% of disabled people said they had experienced a lot of prejudice because of their disability. However, some persons with disabilities may find it difficult to keep their jobs. Some companies may be unsupportive of employees who need to take a lot of time off work, for example, if they frequently suffer from depression or need time to attend the hospital for treatment. This can cause them to be unable to recover and, as a result, their health to deteriorate. Due to this issue, healthcare accessibility has had a negative impact on many people's professions. Lack of knowledge Some people are just unaware of the requirements of disabled people. For example, they may be unaware that a wheelchair-bound person needs an accessible entrance to enter a building, or that someone who is partially blind may have difficulty booking an appointment online. A healthcare receptionist may not know how to interact with someone who has sensory impairments, and certain surgeries may lack the required equipment to treat specific patients. How Can We Work Together to Make Healthcare More Accessible? Accessibility can be achieved by making a few minor changes to a medical practice. Every little bit helps, and these tiny gestures will make all patients feel more at ease. Easy Appointment Booking. Making appointments can be difficult for some people. It can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if you are unfamiliar with modern booking technologies or if you have a disability that makes using the computer difficult. For people who are new to or struggling with their condition, it can be both intimidating and frustrating, which is why omnichannel appointment scheduling can have such a positive impact on medical practice accessibility. Implementing an easy-to-use online appointment booking system can make a significant difference in how your patients perceive their visits to your practice. Relative distribution of healthcare facilities Making healthcare facilities available in the rural communities which can ensure is easy access to healthcare by the community member, the location of primary healthcare facilities should be relative to the population of the community. The number and type of facilities required in a country or region are determined by two types of factors. The first is population needs, which include disease burden and population distribution. Patient centric model to better healthcare experience Healthcare systems need to put patients at the centre of their solutions and make healthcare convenient, accessible and “user-friendly”. This brings into light the need for healthcare organizations and professionals to embrace digital. This is not only needed to understand pain points to address patient needs, but to stay competitive. The best technological options There's no denying that medical technology has advanced significantly since the days of pen-and-paper charts. It is frequently overlooked how much new medical technologies can help patients with disabilities and improve overall medical accessibility. However, many practices have yet to adopt newer advances. The reality is that there is no longer a single "best" option for medical practices. Instead, there are several options available, and some will be better suited to your needs than others. Bring healthcare home Reprioritizing long-term healthcare into the home setting is the most cost-effective and patient-preferred way to address the future healthcare needs of our aging population. Caring for a person in their own home costs much less than a nursing home – this alone could save the Africa healthcare systems millions while addressing seniors’ health needs. As we continue to make advances in medicine and develop innovative technology, it will become easier to make one’s home the center of their care.