There are certain absurd and sometimes outrageous things people experience when they visit Nigerian hospitals. These are some of those things.
No one looks forward to a health crisis, but at some point in time, visits to the hospital are inevitable.
For those in Nigeria, whether it is for a routine check-up, to get treatment or to volunteer and help sick people into the ward, certain experiences make a trip to the hospital unique.
1. The nurse shares her opinion on your weight
In any Nigerian hospital, before you see the doctor, your temperature and blood pressure, as well as weight, is recorded. Do not be surprised when the nurse makes a bold comment as “Ah, aunty, you are too big for your height, please work on it, oh, It is not attractive” or “ Haba, you are too thin, you no dey chop”. Basically, Nigerian nurses feel they have the license to share their opinions with you and usually, you cannot argue with them.
2. The receptionist would rather watch African Magic
Most hospitals in Nigeria now are starting to adopt the Electronic Paperwork system, and almost every receptionist or front desk staff in Nigerian hospitals, especially old hospitals, find this annoying. They prefer to just sit, hand out files and watch African Magic on television. In fact, sometimes, they would ignore patients so they do not miss a particular scene in a movie.
3. You wait so long for everything
From submitting your card, to seeing the doctor, taking tests and collecting your drugs from the pharmacy, you are bound to spend almost an entire day at a Nigerian hospital. The staff seem to take their sweet time in doing almost everything, and so even when there is no crowd, you still have to wait. Good thing is that most of the hospitals have canteens and tuckshops where you can go and eat when you start to get hungry.
4. There is that IZAL smell
It seems like almost every hospital in Nigeria, especially the public ones, made a decision that they would use IZAL, a strong and very pungent disinfectant, to clean their environs. This smell usually is nauseating, especially when the toilet is not properly cleaned and the offensive odour of faeces and urine mixes with the disinfectant.
5. The doctor already knows what is wrong with you
Most doctors automatically match symptoms with malaria and typhoid, and so they rush diagnosis without taking basic tests. The patients, who are most times too scared to disagree with the doctor, just agree with the diagnostics and eventually go back when the treatment does not cater to the problem. Sometimes, you cannot blame them as giving Nigerian patients’ room to express themselves fully could encourage them to over exaggerate their symptoms.
6. You must buy your meds from the hospital
If you are visiting a doctor in a Nigerian hospital, be assured that you will have to buy the medication prescribed from the hospital’s pharmacy. Even when the patient requests to have the medication listed so they can purchase it on their own, the hospital would refuse. This is possibly a way for them to make extra money.
7. Treatments are overpriced
The bill you receive, usually, is quite pricey compared to the actual cost of the medication given to you and resources used on you. Even worse, the cost of being admitted is so high that some hotel rooms are leased for less. Again, 8 out of 10 hospital bills contain errors, so you may want to check your bill carefully.