The Federal Medical Center Ebute Metta might not have been in the news over the last few months but it has been getting stellar reviews from patients and visitors to the hospital. Recently, comedian Ali Baba shouted them out on his Instagram page, praising the quality of service he experienced at the hospital and encouraging more people to register with the hospital. But what is FMC Ebutte Meta doing that has garnering so much public interest?
Just two years ago, FMC Ebutte Meta was just like every other public hospital in Nigeria. It operated with dilapidated infrastructure, staff were underpaid and overworked and often had their payments delayed, its equipment was defective and it never was able to properly attend to patients. Then the hospital appointed Dr. Ademola Dada to lead the hospital’s management.
Dr. Dada in an interview to the PUNCH, says the immediate concern he noticed when he took the helm at the hospital was corruption. There was no centralized system for collation of payments made to the hospital and there were several instances of different departments issuing their own receipts and receiving payment for services that never reached the hospital accounts. Dr. Dada knew the only way he could solve this problem was to automate payments.
Taking inspiration from the TSA (Treasury Single Account) initiative instituted by the Federal government, Dr. Dada focused his first few months at the hospital towards streamlining payments and administration at the hospital. He worked to create a single TSA for all the departments of the hospital and ensuring that payments made by patients were automated through the payment platform Remita and clients could simply just interface directly with hospital administration. He says, in his first month of instituting this, the hospital received a 500% increase in revenue.
With that kind of increase, Dr. Dada was able to generate enough income to ensure that staff were paid in time and well and use the balance to begin the process of renovating the hospital to meet global standards. Today, the hospital has automated ward doors (which reduces the risk of contamination for doctors and patients), polyvinyl flooring (which is easier to clean), and LED lighting systems and central airconditioning to ensure patients feel comfortable during their time there. He also installed hospital kitchenettes for family of patients and has improved sanitation significantly.
The hospital now has 210 beds, all occupied with a waiting list, a state of the art dialysis centre for kidney patients and an world class accident and emergency unit, a cancer screening unit and a spanking new outpatient clinic.
Dada’s new challenge is to automate patient information through the use of digital records and digitized patient cards. With 18,000 new patients and 26 companies registered to the hospital’s healthcare programme, and an 18 month programme designed the Dutch based Safe Care, digitization will provide information reduce any efficiencies in FMC Ebutte Meta’s practice and allow the hospital begin to engage in life-saving data driven research.
Dr. Ademola Dada has all the motivation he needs to prove that we don’t need to wait for the government to effect real change. We hope the rest of the country is watching.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.