Complaints have been widespread in some tertiary institutions about substandard healthcare system which has led to avoidable deaths. Nonetheless, students believe instituting a health insurance scheme in schools will contribute a great deal in ensuring qualitative health service delivery, report ELIZABETH FADEYI and TUNDE ADEBAYO (IBADAN POLY).
Young and brilliant Akinola Bisola Kolawole had dreamt of a glorious future after securing admission to study Public Administration at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Little did he know that fate had other plans for him when he got to his final year. He died after suffering Sepsis and Hepatitis B. He needed N1.2 million to stay alive. Fortunately, N800,000 was gathered to commence his treatment following his transfer from a private hospital to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. Sadly, he was allegedly rejected at the UCH because of non availability of bed space which led to his death.
Just recently, Yussuf Maleek, a Computer Engineering student at the Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, died after he was knocked down by a motorcycle in front of the school while crossing the road.
His death led to a peaceful protest as students barred people from entering the school. They carried placards bearing messages like: “Enough is Enough”, “What is our Obligatory fee used for?”, and “Students’ lives matter”, among others.
During the protest, the students lamented the lack of facilities at the school clinic despite paying the “Obligatory fee.” They said Maleek would not have died if the school clinic was well-equipped. They told the government to upgrade the health facilities.
A protesting student had said: “Despite the fees we pay, including the Obligatory fee, there is no standard medical facility in the school. Rushing a dying young man from Igbesa to Ota, with the bad road, is enough to kill an ill person not to talk of an accident victim.”
However, students have said it is necessary to transform institutions’ sick bays from consulting centres to centres with the required manpower and infrastructure for qualitative health service delivery.
They stressed that a health insurance programme would protect students from financial challenges as a result of huge medical bills and also guarantee better funding for tertiary institutions’ health centres to improve their services.
Christopher Moses, a 300-Level Law student of the University of Ibadan, stressed the importance of embracing health insurance scheme in tertiary institutions, noting that students would be assured of quality healthcare incase of any unforeseen occurrence.
He said: “With the bad healthcare system we have in Nigeria and of course in most institutions, the best and lasting solution they can ever find is just to embrace the health insurance scheme, at least, students will be assured of good healthcare should anything happen.”
In the same vein, Olawale Morakinyo, a 200- Level Chemistry student of University of Lagos, said students would be able to have access to a qualitative healthcare service rather than losing their lives to quacks and inexperienced healthcare workers in institutions who even lack the basic things needed.
Juliet Deborah, an ND 1 Business Administration student of Iree Polytechnic, Osun State, said institutions should implement the scheme so that healthcare centres can improve greatly, adding that service delivery would change and fewer deaths would be recorded.
Balogun Mary, an HND 1 student of Kwara State Polytechnic, said with the health insurance scheme, there won’t be lack of medical personnel or other materials that would be needed to treat patients in healthcare centres in schools. She also noted that this would improve the quality of the healthcare system in Nigeria.
For Olagoke Oyindamola, an ND 2 student of Gateway Polytechnic, Ogun State, the health insurance policy would go a long way in boosting the capacity of institutions.
She said: “Whenever a student is diagnosed with any ailment and the school health centre lacks the capacity of taking such patients, the health insurance scheme would cater for them.”
Hassan Omoyele, a 300-Level student of Forestry at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said: “If there can be healthcare insurance scheme, there won’t be the need for any one running around during emergency situations. Students would be rest assured.”
On her part, Omotosho Sofiat, a 300-Level student of Ekiti State University, said: ” I think for the healthcare system to be much more improved in institutions and for students to get better healthcare, the need for a health insurance scheme cannot be overemphasised.”
Babatunde Temidayo, Chemistry student at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye believes it is necessary to have programmes that can improve the healthcare systems in tertiary institutions.
He said: “They say experience is best at showing things. Sometime in the past, at school, I unfortunately developed malaria symptoms. After experiencing repeated symptoms for a week, I decided to check into the school health centre based on the advice of a friend.
“On getting to school, I was tested and asked some questions about how I was feeling to which I gave adequate answers. I was praying silently that If I would receive injection, it should be given by a nurse. Unknown to me, they didn’t understand how to treat malaria. I was given excess drugs. I was told to go and eat then use them. I complied with the instructions and, after a week, the case grew worse that I couldn’t eat again. I had to go home for proper treatment.”
Another student, Zainab Ahmad, a Mass Communication student of Ado Bayero University, said: “It is important for tertiary institutions to have health insurance schemes for students. It is a necessity for the students to have access to good healthcare at a subsidised rate.
‘’Some students are from poor families and having a health insurance scheme will give them access to healthcare at an affordable rate with little to no cost.”
Also Rebecca Amos, a student of University of Uyo, said:” It will help the institution to appear smart in the eyes of the public. It will also help the students; they already have faculty and departmental bills, courses and term papers to deal with. To now start thinking about your health is another burden. It is important to invest in one’s health.This shows preparedness for unexpected situations.”
Wasiu Oyeniran, an HND 2 student of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, said: ” Most Nigerian tertiary institutions lack standard healthcare centres, thus, it has led to untimely loss of lives of students. However, having health insurance policy for students is like bringing a lasting solution to the problem of which I believe every institution shouldn’t fail to have.”
Phillip Faith, an ND 1 student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, said embracing the idea would bring about effective and efficient health care system in each institution, noting that it would lead to better and quality service delivery.
Aro Damilola, a 400-Level student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, said: “Nigerian university healthcare system leaves much to be desired. Most lack basic facilities. Hence, it will be so difficult for them to offer quality healthcare service to students. But with the health insurance scheme, it will even serve as a life saver to them also. They will be able to deliver adequate care to any sick student conveniently. It will aid their service ”
Oluwakunle Faith, a 100-Level student of Ekiti State University, while decrying the healthcare system of the country generally, said: “The country’s healthcare system as a whole is bad. So how then can tertiary institutions’ healthcare system be okay? However, for students to receive adequate and complete healthcare service with the full amenities, they should subscribe to the health insurance scheme.”
Shittu Mariam, an ND 2 Marketing student of Iree Polytechnic, said if health centres in schools cannot do what is expected of them, then they are needless. She decried situations where students lose their lives as a result of lack of medical personnel. She urged schools to prioritise their healthcare system and institute insurance policies to help students get cheap healthcare.