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The Process Of Obtaining Treatment In A Nigerian Government Hospital

The hospital is obviously a place where nobody ever prays to visit as a patient or relative to a patient. However, it seems in a person’s lifetime, it is inevitable to avoid it. 
The two kinds of persons found in it are the patients and medical personnel.

The hospital is an organisation or an establishment where qualified medical personnel attend to the health of persons with major and minor illnesses. The ultimate goals of both staffs and patients is to achieve total health for the patients in an organised manner. There are units and sub-units in standard hospital settings with each playing out a role. A good understanding by both staffs and patients will at the result in the desired outcome.

For old patients and staff, the hospital is well known as to how it operates but this is not the case with new patients coming for the first time. So for this reason, this article tends to explain in details the process in getting treatment in most Government hospitals in Nigeria. This may also be the case with some private hospitals and clinics around.

There are two sets of patients that come to the hospital; outpatients and emergency patients. The process in obtaining treatment for both are somewhat similar with some few differences. This article will try to explain both in a clear and concise manner.

Hospital service
Hospital Service

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An Emergency Patient

The hospital have an emergency unit, which consist of a doctor, nurse and some few other medical personnel. Most time, it is called a mini clinic as it boast of a bed and some basic drugs like first aid. They are responsible for handling cases, which involve accidents and unconscious victims. Since most of the times, they are immobile; they usually require an assistance of a guilder that brings them. The unit is situated very close to the entrance of the hospital where car ambulance and tire bed can easily be rolled in. In advance hospitals like the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Delsuth, Oghara. It is situated in such a way that emergency cases from a chopper ambulance can bring in a patient that land at the top of the hospital. 

The doctor on call will swing into action as soon as possible. He will ask the guilder for information that can assist in the treatment process as he does his best to bring the unconscious back to full life or reduce the pain. All vital information must be supplied if the process must succeed, like the kind of poison ingested or the last medicine took.

Note: Some time ago, the government of Nigeria requires a police reports for any gunshot injury. The guilder was supposed to secure such from the nearest police station. Now, the government have to deliberate on it and lifted such acts. Although I do not know if it is still being practice.

At this stage, the guilder will be asked to go to the card room to obtain a medical card. The receipt for the card will be given to the guilder who will go to the account department to make the said payment on the receipt. He comes back to the card room where the patients’ demography with causes of visitation will be filled in one why the other card, which is small, will only contain patients’ demography with date. In some instances, the card can only be taken to each unit by a staff of the hospital.

Going back to the emergency unit, the doctor will then prescribe. The prescription can be one or all of the following:
  • drugs
  • referral
  • laboratory for test
  • theater ward 
  • ward
Drugs: When drugs are prescribed, the guilder goes to the pharmacy units where a pharmacy will dispense the stated drugs adjusting where there is discrepancy. The price is stated and the guilder takes the card to the account department where they pay for the drugs they want to take. He comes back with the receipt issued at the account unit to the pharmacy to take the drugs.

Referral: When a doctor refers, it could be within or in another hospital. When it is within, the attention of the referred doctor is called. For a doctor that is outside the hospital, a written note is attached with all necessary information that is known and needed. Two hospitals do not share the same medical cards. Therefore, for that reason, the medical record card cannot be taken away from the hospital on no account.

Laboratory Test: When a laboratory test is needed, the patient is tested where it is necessary. There are so many types of test carried out. Some require just blood why others may be urine, which may not be possible for an unconscious patient. Before the test is done, the guilder goes to the unit to get the price for each test and goes to the account department to make payment with receipt. However, on a good day, the patient is suppose go to the laboratory to carry out the test.

Theater: This is where hospitals perform operations. A patient that require an operation will be wheeled down to the operating theater. All medical personnel’s involved will be brief on the condition of the patient and what to do at each instance. At this stage, the guilder will have to give consent to the doctor to carry out the operation. It may not be the same doctor that will do the operation. For the operation to proceed, the account department must be settled with evidence of a receipt according to the price the doctor have filled.

The Ward: Depending on so many factors, the right ward for the person will be stated where he should be admitted. There are several wards with different sets of persons admitted there. They include; maternity ward, male ward, children's ward etc.
For patients that were taken to wards, payments for ward fee may be per day or week which is always stated in the card and paid at the account unit with receipt.

Note: Any other form of payments without receipt to any person within or outside the hospital and not coming from the account department is illegal.

There are some cases that after the test, the patient goes back to the doctor who give a final prescription, which at the end determine what next. Most hospital visitations end at the pharmacy.

Read Also:  Things To Expect When You Visit A Doctor For Medical Diagnosis


For a sick person visiting the hospital for the first time, it could be a little daunting and confusing. Knowing where every unit is located and when to go could save a lot of valuable time and resources. For a first timer, the first place to go is the card room. Here, you will be asked to provide some vital information. This will enable them to know the best doctor you should see. 

There are several specialists in some hospitals who deals on different types of ailments. Some includes eye specialist, dentist, gynecologist etc. As a patient, you also have the right to specify the doctor you wants to see. This normally happens when you know the doctor before or have heard about him. However, that he is good is not a yardstick that he is the best doctor for your ailment. 

In other to go to the said doctor, you are to see; you have to go to the account units to make a payment for your card with receipt. When you come back to the card unit, two cards will be given you, the big card is to stay at the hospital for record keeping while the small one you ought to keep in case a doctor books an appointment with you. It is this card you will bring in other for the big card to be sought out from the many cards in the office. 

The few information on the cards will enable them know where the big card is kept in the hospital. At the doctor's office, you may see other medical personnel’s there. Try as much as possible to give all necessary information needed for proper diagnosis. Some doctors have vital signs kit for testing your body for proper diagnosis. Just like what happens in emergencies, a doctor can prescribe according to what he feels.

Most of the Hospitals in Nigeria are under staff why the number of patients are on the increase. This has led to a long waiting time between times of getting a card to the point of leaving the hospital. According to a study conducted in Nigeria, It takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours in major Governmental hospitals to be done. This may change for good as the number of new staffs coming in exceed the number of those into retirement.

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