Nigerians Blame Collapse Of Values, Government For Corruption In Medical Referrals

Press Release
October 14, 2020.

Failure of governments at all levels and the total collapse of the value system of Nigerians have been identified as the main driver of corruption in the nation’s health sector.

The assertion was made Wednesday by Participants at the weekly anti-corruption program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE which x-rayed the scam in medical referrals by some doctors and other medical workers in Nigeria.
The program was anchored on an extensive investigation by Premium Times on the prevalence of corruption and kickbacks by medical doctors when they refer patients for tests and diagnosis in Laboratories.

The Communication and Advocacy Director, Make A Difference Initiative, Mr Lemmy Ughegbe during the radio program, commended Primium Times for the thorough investigation and blamed government and the regulatory agencies for looking the other way while patients suffer under the scam.
Premium Times had uncovered how doctors, hospitals and medical laboratory service providers connive to defraud unsuspecting patients of billions of naira daily through a referral kickback.
Ughegbe said that it was worrying that referral kickback was even obtainable in government owned hospitals and stressed that the failure on the part of the government made citizens to be the ones to provide basic amenities for themselves, increased their desperation and encouraged fraud in public offices.
Speaking on moral decadence and poor value system among Nigerians, Ughegbe said: “we find out that unlike in those days a good name was better than riches but now, we seem to have turned it to a bad name is better than poverty.”
On the solutions to the endemic corruption in the health sector, he had this to say: “Nigeria needs a rebirth, the total collapse of our value system calls for retrospection and rebirth. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) must come together to work with civil society organizations and we need to re-jig our value system.”

Ughegbe called on Nigerians to be vigilant when accessing healthcare in the country, while condemning the idea of medical doctors of mystifying treatment. And also stressed the need for Nigerians to be more enlightened about the ugly trend.
Earlier on the program, the author of the report, Nicholas Ibekwe lamented that despite unearthing such fraud in the system no punitive action has been taken on the individuals and companies indicted after one month.
“Since my story was published nobody has been punished. I called the Consumer Protection Council and they made all the promises in this world that they were going to do something, yet nothing has been done.
“I will go back this week to the story and talk to the regulators to know how come a month after the story has been published nothing has been done,” Ibekwe said.
Several callers to the program lamented how they became victims of the scam and called on the government to strengthen regulations to stop the fleecing of patients in the name of referrals.
Many of the callers said they declined to carry out tests and refused to go to the preferred laboratories of their doctors because they suspected some foul play.
The syndicated radio program is produced by PRIMORG with the support from the MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

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