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Band A Electricity Hike Turning Our Hospitals to Morgues – Nigerian Doctor Laments

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Healthcare Band-A

Dr Richard Okoye, President of Doctors Savealife Foundation, has expressed grave concerns about the impact of the Band-A electricity tariff hike on Nigeria’s healthcare system, which he termed ‘The Band-A Epidemic’.

In a recent interview, he cautioned that, without urgent action, hospitals across the country could become morgues.

Dr Okoye also lamented the crippling financial burden on hospitals, stating that his hospital’s monthly power bill has skyrocketed to N25.3 million due to being in the Band A category.

“See, this Band-A epidemic, as I call it now, is bound to destroy the healthcare system of this country.

“PHED sent us a letter stating that because of us being in Band A, our monthly power bill is now up to N25 million every month. The hospital is not a business centre.

“Hospitals are rendering essential services. We are already struggling with the doctors leaving the country,” he said, lamenting the exodus of doctors and the strained healthcare system. He stressed the need to revisit the decision regarding Band A categorisation to prevent a healthcare catastrophe.

When asked about the specific risks Band A poses to hospitals, Dr Okoye stressed the critical role of power in healthcare delivery. He explained that maintaining proper drug storage temperatures and ensuring the success of surgical procedures rely on consistent electricity.

Power is the life of healthcare delivery. When there’s light in a hospital, patients have a sense of hope of living again.  In addition to that, a majority of emergency and anesthetic drugs need to be maintained at certain temperatures.

“Power determines whether a surgical procedure will be successful or not. It determines the before-and-after and the outcome of any surgery. If the instruments are not properly sterilised, it is signing a death sentence for our people. If nothing is done to stall this development, society should brace up for nosocomial infection,” he warned.

He explained that nosocomial infections are Infections acquired from hospitals that may become resistant to all known antibiotics, making them challenging to treat even when corrective measures are implemented, which could potentially lead to dire consequences.

“Teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centers (FMC) used to enjoy some relative form of light. Perhaps because they are not going to pay like other people, they are now downgrading them to Band B so that the energy will be channelled to the people they feel can pay to the detriment of the people’s health,” he further stated.

Regarding the broader impact of Band A on businesses, Dr Okoye said healthcare is not just a job or a profit-driven enterprise but a matter of life and death. He appealed to government officials and power sector executives to reconsider the decision in light of its devastating consequences while making a plea to prioritise the nation’s health and prevent the impending healthcare crisis from unfolding.

He urged stakeholders to act fast to avert what he termed a “healthcare tsunami.”

Read: Breaking: Arsenal’s David Raya Clinches 2023/2024 EPL Golden Glove

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