Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Rekindle our hope in public hospitals


So, trust in public hospitals has been waning while public officials have been looking the other side?

Well, the truth is that we are not surprised by findings of the latest Integrated Household Panel Survey, conducted by the National Statistical Office, to the effect that half the number of health service seekers see no need to visit public health facilities.

Today, only 41 out of 100 patients opt for public health institutions; meaning that 59 out of 100 health service-seekers have found shelter in private hospitals.


This is a worrying development, considering that services in public hospitals are offered for free while those in private hospitals come at a cost. Sometimes, one has to pay an arm and a leg to get back to normal health in private health facilities.

As far as we are concerned, services in public health facilities have been deteriorating, fuelled, as it were, by drug pilferage, ill-treatment of patients, disgruntlement with salaries offered in the public service, among other reasons.

In the end, public health facilities have become waiting bays for death. Stories of drug shortage and other challenges have become so commonplace that the public has simply lost trust in the system.


Unfortunately, those who are bearing the brunt of neglect in public hospitals, and paying the cost of death, are ordinary citizens who have nowhere to go to seek medical treatment.

For the government, the work is cut out for it. It needs to restore public trust in the system by providing the necessary financial resources and ensuring that staffs are motivated to deliver quality and sustainable services without putting lives at risk.

Public health facilities should be places where people renew their partnership with life, instead of courting death.

Results of the survey should act as a light as we work towards making the Sustainable Development Goal of making health services available to all a reality. Time to rework things is now.

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