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BBC investigates the Nigerian Healthcare System | WATCH



BBC investigates the Nigerian Health Care System | WATCH | BellaNaijaLike a lot of things in Nigeria, we know the Nigerian health care system is a mess.

A BBC documentary has shown just how far deep the rot has eaten, investigating how hospitals demand that patients pay before they are attended to or discharged.

A woman shared how after she birthed her baby she was detained in a hospital for a year, together with the baby, because she was unable to pay the bill.

Others shared how they lost loved ones because hospitals demanded pay before providing care.

Watch the documentary below:


  1. o

    November 22, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    This issue is quite delicate. If it’s permitted, a lot will use hospitals n take off without paying. Hospitals are in it for business. People need to pay so the hospitals can run properly.

    Now the minute a lady is pregnant, she expects to deliver in 9mths. The family should have started saving towards the birth. The case of Ngozi shown, she didn’t have money to collect the corpse of her son, however she’s gone on to have twins. I see 4 young children on a salary of how much? If anything happens now it’s same story of no money to pay.

    The hospitals too should be more kind. I know they are in it to make money but they have to find a way around it. Maybe have them sign an undertaking to settle bill later.

  2. Lola

    November 23, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Like every other thing or sector in the country, our health system is so broken down. Many deaths have been caused by carelessness of medical personnel and nobody is able to sue them. Even if you sue them, the forensics are too poor to give a meaningful outcome. It really breaks my heart.

    The government wants to reduce drastically, maternal and child deaths, for example. But in many hospitals including private, you have to make a deposit before you are given attention. Regardless of whether you are in pain as a pregnant woman, you have to pay first. Garki Area 10 hospital in Abuja is guilty of this. Our government should do something.

    I’m sure if BBC were to go deeper in their findings, so many unbelievable things would be revealed.
    God help us in Nigeria.

  3. Henry

    November 23, 2018 at 8:33 am

    This drives home, as I am health care provider and having worked in diffferent countries, I understand why this does not make any sense. However, the national health insurance scheme is a sham, does not cover up to 10% of Nigerians, and the remaining 90% donor think it wise to get health insurance. Private hospitals take loans to start up, have tons of workers/ loans to repay. The way out is a mandatory health insurance for all, then provision of basic free health (at primary care levels by the govt). This is the only way out. It’s like going to a bank and asking to take money not deposited cos you r hungry. PRIVATE hospitals will continue to demand for upfront payment for out of pocket paying consumers to be able to be in businesses

  4. Asa

    November 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

    We aren’t being fair to the hospitals as well! These hospitals HAVE TO run! We complain of poor healthcare in Nigeria but honestly, outside this country, healthcare costs an arm and a leg. Hospitals aren’t charities, they lack government support, many of them sustain salaries, hospital maintenance and purchase of equipment on the money that people pay as hospital bill. The hospital pictured in the documentary is also heavily subsidized by mission. How do you expect them to run if you don’t pay, if they close down, a greater majority of people might lose access to healthcare because some people did not pay. Let us be fair.

    Health insurance is very important, people should have health insurance but in the absence of health insurance, you need to plan for healthcare especially routine things like childbirth and random illness which is rampant in children under the age of 5. If you have been offered healthcare, it is only fair to pay, even if you have to pay in installments. I am sorry for the people who were restrained from leaving but in Nigeria, it is hard to track people down, no street addresses in remote areas, no social security number, no database of people living in a particular location, if you abscond with the money, you have absconded forever. In the face of this, what should a hospital do?

    To resolve this amicably, hospitals should offer services before requesting payment and patients should understand that the bills are important and make plans to pay these bills by either getting health insurance or paying out of pocket.

  5. Nnenne

    November 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Nigerian does not need the the pity party from BBC and Britain!
    They created this chaos and have been fanning it because of the benefits they obtain from the chaos. Just take a lot at our past leaders. Have Britain not always supported their selection? We all know that someone with Buhari’s history could never hold any public office in Britain but they supported him from day one.

    What do Nigerin lack? Is it manpower,natural resources or what?
    Fact is ,Nigeria was never created to survive given the make…Minorities and majorities, sate of origin…
    How do I not be tribalistic in a country,where someone keep asking about my state of origin instead of simply seeing me as a Nigerian? Where my stay in certain parts of my country is not a right but privilege?
    Tribism, greed and religion totally messed up the country not even corruption.
    Put the right persons in public offices and watch Nigerian bloom and corrouption be minimalized.
    Allow the right people into public offices,eliminate cabals by reducing the cost of running for offices, create a sound CRITERIA for qualification for running for public offices.
    Right now the minimum for the office of the presidency is high school and people
    with previous records still run for public offices, In the 21st century. Really????

  6. Patrick

    November 23, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Having lost someone very close to me because of the total breakdown of the industry from top to bottom, I’m enraged by the nonsensical government approach or lack off. I dunno what Nigerians are waiting for to revolt against these people in so called power.

  7. Bowl

    November 24, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Oh Iyenu !

  8. Anonymous

    November 25, 2018 at 7:50 am

    There is no single excuse under the sun to leave a sick or dying person untreated whether they pay you or not. None whatsoever. The argument that hospitals are private and took loans etc do not hold water at all. As a health care provider in a saner environment, you treat and send the bill. My question to the proponents of collecting money first is this, after collecting millions and the patient dies, have you EVER refunded money to the family? Any family? Fear God. I lost my 37 year old sister to the wicked health careless sham in Nigeria. They asked for million we gave it, I spoke to the first dr over the phone and he was in the “ I’m a surgeon”mode. I begged him as someone who is in the sector to run ct scan, run ultrasound etc to be sure of what they are doing but after all the money and boasts, my baby sister died, leaving me shattered and vowing not to step foot on that wicked soil. We ( the husband and I) paid them money, still they killed her. Did they refund the money for their negligence and incompetence? Hell no. Most of these folks will rot in hell for the blood money they collect.

    Such unreturned money should be put in a fund and used for the poor to get treated as soon as they come in sick. A true healing professional does not put money first. Nigerian drs are majorly hustlers for better salary while killing patients in their clinics and expecting more pay for mediocre work and skills in their part time government hospital job. This is in memory of my sister, killed by some Nigerian drs’ incompetence in 2016. After her death, me and my friends here reviewed everything her hubby wrote and concluded with fellow professionals not hustlers that all she had was gall bladder infection. She didn’t have to die. All the empty pride of some Nigerian drs practicing in Nigeria is hubris. Come and take exams in a standard setting and do residency then you will become humble. Only in Nigeria do drs sit in offices while there are inpatients and the nurses are calling “ dr, dr the patient in room x is gasping or something). Don’t abuse me if you don’t want what happened to my innocent sister to happen to you. I’m still upset at arrogant greedy Nigerian drs some of whom are fetish on top of it.

  9. Bowl

    November 25, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    @Anonymous, why write a Nollywood script here. (this is straight out of Nollywood) Very inane comment ! In the standard teaching hospital doctors interact with their patients everywhere and not just the clinics , and no nurse waits on a doctor ! They only do their jobs my dear. Nurses are the custodians of the ward and are the first port of call for patients in the wards.!Per time , there is always a doctor on call to attend to emergencies. It is just that we can help the unpleasant realities of living in Nigeria !
    Medical exam standards all over the world are the same ..The Western exams are actually easier to pass . Residency in those climes are also easier . Always do a good fact find before coming here to spew nonsense !

  10. Anonymoud

    November 25, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I knew one of the hubris spewing “ daddy knows the dean” drs will answer. My sister died is nonsense? Listen to your heartless self. In your arrogance you cannot even understand grief, 2 years after. You must defend your hustle. Yes Nigerian trained drs used to pass foreign exams easily before. Before the charlatan era. And no you have no protocol not to talk of comparing yourself to the western world. You have zero protocol for every disease state. All you hustle for is to travel to attend isolated conferences and as I said which is a fact, a 37 year old died. If you don’t wash it for yourself shove your arrogance and understand what grief is .

  11. Anonymoud

    November 25, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    “If you don’t wish”

  12. Anonymous

    November 25, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    BN you need to publish my comment. This heartless guy is saying my sister’s death is a Nollywood script. Heartless comment by someone who may be a physician. No wonder they ask for money before treating sick patients. If you don’t wish it on yourself don’t deny or devalue anyone’s grief. I’m not suprised. All the heartlessness of some Nigerian drs! You have no protocol for any disease state. You keep living in denial but don’t deny my grief!

  13. Anonymous

    November 25, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Residency is easier in which climes, ignorance of the highest order. Come and try it now! When even Americans have challenges getting easy residencies unless they want to go to MUA. Get a heart! Refund for money collected from those killed due to incompetence or put it in a fund for those who cannot afford to pay. Get a heart!

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