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Dr. Monica’s Corner: Are There Any ‘Good’ Doctors in Nigeria?



Monica AlabiWhen there is life, there is hope. Not just any life, a healthy life. How do you ensure you have a healthy life? By making sure you look after this body you’ve been given so that it can serve you.

On our radio show, a cancer survivor who had only discovered he had prostate cancer accidentally said: “how can you have a body for so many years and not service it?”That’s right,even cars get checked regularly.

Providing healthcare is intricate; it requires well trained, well remunerated doctors, good infrastructure and governance and well informed patients.

Medical training in Nigeria is rigorous. We learnt the theory exceptionally well, and were truly ‘grilled’ by our seniors. The infrastructure is a slightly different matter. We learnt to be creative and innovative though; from cutting up tubing to use as torniquets and putting latex gloves to good use for procedures and trying to repair bent cannula.

We worked in the most impossible setting. Sheer volume,aggressive patients and not that much pastoral care. I must add a caveat though,there are some incredibly dedicated and caring teachers that helped some of us.

Nigerian doctors are usually quite successful outside our shores; but of what use is that to the country? We need good healthcare teams for our ever expanding population. We have some of the worst health outcomes across board globally.

Doctors who stayed behind to develop the system are to be applauded; but their report so far has been less that impressive. Amenities are still below par and the system is not much further forward. Using mobile phone lighting to operate CANNOT be right. I have, however, learnt that the private sector is usually the trailblazer when looking at sector development.

Before I examine the private sector, let’s look at the public/patient’s view to accessing healthcare. I was having dinner with a friend and going on about healthcare as usual and she said, “Healthcare ke? We haven’t talked about education, jobs, power. We use family and friends who are doctors to manage without paying”.

This corresponds to what I have heard from doctors who have to insist on patients paying first before they will have any conversation because they have been cheated out of their fees under the guise of asking for ‘advice”.

Surgical procedures attract top naira as the patients feel like ‘something’ has been done resulting in some unnecessary intervention.Medicine is mostly based on history,investigations and medical management and that is as valuable as being ‘cut’.

Do patients value healthcare?

The private Healthcare sector is run by silos of doctors running their own mini empires (much like most people). Power has to be 24/7,staff have to be paid and professional development has to be continuous and these have to be paid for. What room does that leave for safety and quality of Healthcare? Specialists are having to provide primary care in an effort to increase their income when they could be focussed on honing their specialist skills by increasing their critical mass (the number of specialist cases they see) which makes patient outcomes better.

There are stories upon stories of serious incidents where patients have been mismanaged. I’m sure you all know at least one. Where is the space to follow the appropriate pathway, learn from mistakes and increase accountability?

There are many people who access healthcare outside the country even for minor ailments. They do not trust the system, making medical tourism a very profitable venture for many other countries .Many of the doctors you are going to see abroad are either Nigerian trained or were trained by a Nigerian. Many are not as qualified but because they are abroad. They seem more authentic somehow.

It is important to celebrate doctors and healthcare teams that are making it work in such a difficult setting.

I invite you to mention good clinics and healthcare teams that you have a personal experience of and they may just get a feature.


  1. Gideon

    November 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Dr Akeredolu and his team of the RoyalOak hospital FESTAC. A phenomenal team of respectful, focused, skilled and trustworthy healthcare professionals.

    Every pregnant woman will be the best of antenatal and post natal care it his hospital.

    • Nkechi

      November 15, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Can we also mention the bad ones. No elevator to carry my mum upstairs. She was weak and needed immediate assistance. She died in Luth. I wished I had forced her to stay in the US by fire by force. My grandmother was misdiagnosed. They said she had tuberculosis but she had cancer and was quickly flown to Cromwell Hospital in England. I am sorry. Loads of the good doctors have left. Just attend their reunions if you can. Many of them are also in SA. And the ones left, I pray for God’s strength. A particular doctor works 4jobs. Please tell me how he is managing to see his patients. He said he works in Lagos and must pay school fees. I pity his patients.

    • God's Gold

      November 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      My condolence. My grandmother was also misdiagnosed in Nigeria. By the time she got to the UK it was too late.

    • ATL's finest

      November 18, 2016 at 2:56 am

      @ Nkechi sorry hun. My mom was constantly been treated for Typhoid fever, meanwhile she had diabetes & they didn’t know. 3days later in the States something told me to check her sugar just to playing around & that mess was 600 ish oh Lord thanks to God for 911 & till this day, not for once have she falling ill. It’s a sad Condition & for the fact that its just not getting better is not a good thing. Like I tell folks that always say to me “wetin dey America sef?” Well I’ve 911 on a speed dial, i have insurance ( of all kind), even if its 3am I landed at ER, I will be treated before they start asking for insurance #LIFEfirst#. So health is very important. My aunt was lucky to come at the right time when she was sick. She was treated for malaria & come to find out, there was a trace of Cancer in her. Thanks to God it wasn’t too late for the operation.

  2. Tope

    November 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Hi, Nice write up. I have visited several hospitals that make every effort to meet global practice standard. These include -but not limited to- Paelon Memoral hospital, Victoria Island, St Nicholas lagos island, Good tidings Hospital Surulere, Cornel specialist Surulere, Rjolad Gbagada. I have seen very good doctors who overwork, are underpaid, under-appreciated, and are the first to be blamed for any flaw in the Nigerian health care delivery system. I have come to the conclusion that Nigerian doctors are like others having the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. Have a great day.

  3. Ronke D

    November 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Well written doctor.
    Our leaders do not see health as a priority, they forget that health is wealth!
    We need a strong political wheel to ensure that our hospitals are well equipped, hospital staff are continuously trained (regularly update) and well remunerated.

    Kudos to all the doctors out there who are doing great jobs, using the little they have to give their best to their patient.

    A word of caution to the few bad eggs who exploit their patient for financial gain, patients are beginning to know their rights & do not forget your Hippocrates oat,: first do no harm’.

  4. Purplegirl

    November 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    This is a most welcoming idea. A yellow pages for good health care. I have a 13 month old and I can’t find him a doctor. Most of the doctors he sees are general practitioners.

    • Missappleberry

      November 15, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      You can take him to a paediatrician at Excel children medical center in dolphin estate, lifeline hospital in lekki phase 1 or surulere, children’s practice in ikoyi etc. These are some of the best options if u stay in Lagos, Nigeria. A trial will convince u. Thank me later

    • Chi

      November 16, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Lifeline in Lekki Phase 1? I also thought they were good until they gave a wrong diagnosis on two different occasions in respect of my child. Thank God my father is a Medical Doctor who always advocates that patients should get a second opinion before forging ahead.

      I did just that and found out that they were recommending a totally unnecessary procedure that was not needed. This was based on their misdiagnosis. My child is fine now and all it took was a proper diagnosis and accurate treatment.

      The correct diagnosis was done by a visiting doctor from the UK using a friend’s hospital facilities in Nigeria. Misdiagnosis is a major issue in this country.

  5. Beard gang

    November 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    good piece Dr. Alabi! funny enough i know a Dr. Alabi , May clinics, illasanmaja…very excellent at his job and always wears a warm countenance

    healthcare in nigeria has suffered a terrible decline… i remember vividly about twenty years ago i was about five or six, my baby brother at the time was ill and we took him to see Dr. Eribo (paediatrician) God bless his soul…he took up to 20 tests and examined my brothers body so thoroughly and explained every action he carried out in detail to my mom and was never hostile..i used to look forward to my checkups with him

    these days most nigerian doctors have this ‘god’ factor and never admit when they go wrong…i took my cousin to ante natal in faith clinic, ajao estate last year …the gynaecologist made us sit for like 4 hours, when he finally attended to my cousin he just looked at her for like 15 seconds and told her to go home …no examinations, no close observations, no checks nothing! i was deeply perplexed… apart from the infrastructre our healthcare technicians have lowered standard..especially the nurses …a lot of them are obnoxious and uncouth (the govt. hospital ones) so please Dr. Monica Alabi reach out to your colleagues, a lot of them need to brush up on their etiquette and patient relationship, it is a first step to healing when patient are well received

  6. Mimi

    November 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    sophia clinic portharcourt!!!! they were really good while i was in Nigeria. dont know about now

  7. good girl

    November 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    for me i have always had one issue or the other about the standards and attitudes in hospitals here…please can any one honestly tell me which hospital /doctor is very good on the island even the big names have disappointed me

  8. Cindy

    November 15, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I visited Lifeshore fertility clinic at Surulere (a branch of Parklande hospital Surulere) for a fertility procedure. All I got was a failed procedure with no form of explanation. Some doctors should learn to be sympathetic, sometimes thats what a patient needs. You just collect money and be blabbing….

  9. Marian

    November 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Yes o. I’ve volunteered with a lot of good doctors in Nigeria who care deeply and have gone above and beyond. A big shoutout to all the amazing doctors that volunteer with Mercy International Mission to provide free medical/surgical care to the people of Ekiti everyyear.

  10. Lady

    November 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    We have a frail government system. This is the root of this problem. If our economy were even fairly stable, a lot of things will be different for both the health care providers and every other individual in this country.

  11. Marian

    November 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Took my grandma to Eye Foundation Hospital in Ikeja and the care there was superb. Things moved fast and i will highly recommend if you can afford them. I was very impressed and they removed the bad taste the last hospital i went to left in my mouth. I don’t remember the name of everyone that attended to her but they were all awesome.

  12. o

    November 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Born with Sickle cell anaemia and diagnosed with DVT 12yrs ago, I have had my fair share of hospitals. However I must thank Prof M Kehinde, consultant hematologist, department of medicine LUTH. The man has been a major blessing. Also Dr Banjoko and Dr Adenekan. Both working under prof K.

    Lagoon hospital too is good. They are very meticulous and carry out all possible test to get to the root of any complaints. I must commend Dr Adebayo, and Dr Abdulsalaam there. Also Lagoon Apapa ICU team and Lagoon Ikeja ER docs.

    Dr Kanu, consultant neurosurgeon in LUTH who removed blood clots from my daughter’s brain in 2014 (tho surgery was done in a private hospital in Slere cos LUTH was on strike and time was of the essence). Finally Dr Bose Afolabi, consultant O&G LUTH, who specialises in pregnant Sickle cell women. She was my doc in 2006/2007 when I was pregnant. Dedicated, professional and knows her onions. I’m grateful to have had wonderful doctors.

    God bless all medical personnel.

    • ATL's finest

      November 18, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Amen?????? Shout out to all the Medical teams who put their lives & lay it down for others. My Dr in Nigeria was a white German Dr. In Edo State & I can’t recall his name but my FAM Dr in middle school was Dr. Ekiuwa Afolabi GOD BLESS Ur SOUL. Unfortunately, we heard he passed away & my mom was so devastated.

  13. vora

    November 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    i was in lagos for four yrs and had two kids,the only hospital i used was Gold cross service 17b bourdillion ikoyi..they re d best.they have fantastic doctors and nurses who re very nice and knows thier job..

  14. Sanjana

    November 15, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Lagoon Hospital..has a very experienced team of doctors and care givers..Dr. Ben Okereke, Dr. Ogumor, Dr. Ajayi, Dr. Itakpe to mention a few at the Awolowo branch..there’s this male doctor that is so cheerful and laughs so easily.. makes you forget how bad your situation is..I commend their intense dedication and absolute professionalism.

  15. zeebaby

    November 15, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    @ o, as a fellow sickle cell warrior… I rep Prof Kehinde, Consultant haematology LUTH. He has selflessly treated SS patients for decades. Even when LUTH is on strike, he shows up for work. May the good God bless him. Lagoon hospital, Apapa rocks. The care is superb and the doctors carry out thorough investigations b4 treatment. It’s however, expensive and better if one has access to hygeia health insurance. I now reside in Abuja and I am still yet to get a very good hospital that has a good haematologist and gynaecologist. I had a horrific experience at National hosp that ended in a stillbirth last year so hell NO!!!

    • o

      November 16, 2016 at 7:29 am

      Oh my. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. If by the next time you’re expecting you still haven’t found a good hematologist and gynaecologist, you may need to relocate to Lagos temporarily. Dr Afolabi is still doing a great job with pregnant SS ladies in LUTH.

      It’s only God that can reward Prof K for us o. And yes Lagoon tho good is extremely expensive. It only makes sense if one is on HMO. Truth is good quality healthcare in naija is expensive, except you’re in a govt hospital

  16. Really Concerned

    November 16, 2016 at 4:27 am

    I tried to read this article without bias despite a heartbreaking experience that has made me lose total trust in anything called health care system in Nigeria. Who wouldn’t if you lost your mother to these set of people that call and parade themselves as Nigerian doctors? The author started by extolling the qualities of Nigerian doctors and elucidating the rigours they had to endure in the course of medical training. There is no doubt that studying medicine involves a lot of sacrifice, however, same applies to other academic fields. Dr. Monica totally lost me with her assertion that “many of the doctors you are going to see abroad are either Nigerian trained or were trained by a Nigerian. Many are not as qualified but because they are abroad. They seem more authentic somehow.” This is the most misleading and uninformed generalization of doctors abroad. This is very condescending and disparaging coming from someone in a failed system. I find this statement rather arrogant and insulting to doctors abroad who have to study a first degree before medical school and do about 3 years of residency and then write board exam before practicing.. Since when did medical mediocrity in Nigerian become a virtue to be celebrated without shame instead of aspiring to improve???
    I lost my mother in 2012 to these bunch of so called of Nigerian consultants and specialist doctors who after 12 years of diagnosing her with diabetes did not know and could not discern that at some point they needed to be checking her kidney as I was informed of this practice in less than 48 hours of her visit abroad. The doctors in the US were also shocked to hear that a trained doctor prescribed the combination of medication she had been taking for years with her insulin which they termed a recipe for disaster and never to be combined. I was also informed that ideally pharmacists intervene with such prescription to avoid drug-drug interaction. I was shocked when my mum was asked the medication she was taking for her kidney problem after her lab work was ready. The question was alien to her and myself as none us was aware she had any kidney problem. The most shocking part was that we were informed that the kidney problem was in the advanced stage as a result of complication from diabetes. This avoidable circumstance happened because some doctor or doctors in Nigeria did not do the simplest of things they were supposed to do over the years. Eventually my mother went into coma and passed after two weeks. How can I believe in the system Dr. Monica is promoting here without logic? There is absolutely nothing to celebrate here.

  17. Anon

    November 16, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Good Docs? yes! Dr Olamide Okulaja and Dr Chinedu Odum! God bless you guys real good for me!

  18. Pulchritudinous

    November 16, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Dr. Akude, Family Physician… down to earth and Dr. Sam, O&G consultant…. of Faith Mediplex Benin

  19. Zeeebby

    November 16, 2016 at 10:05 am this website helps with list of hospitals around you. they also have a rating system which allows people review the hospital after visiting; it helps other make a decision based on real people’s review

    • Annon

      March 29, 2017 at 1:09 am

      That’s really great! Kudos to the team that developed the website (!

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