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Some years ago, finding a doctor in Nigeria was difficult at best, but with recent advances in technology, things are changing. With an upsurge of interest in the Nigerian healthcare services, particularly by organizations like Nigeria Health Watch, things are getting better as more now have access to health care.
In addition to the technological advances, more and more private hospitals are springing up, particularly in cities (and towns). In spite of the government’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards the management of government-owned schools of medicine, they have been able to—within their limited means—produce doctors and nurses that have knowledge of the latest technologies and keep up with world standards of healthcare. There are also doctors offering bespoke services, much like the doctors who used to visit patients at their homes.
The Find-A-Med app is one of the foremost medical apps used by Nigerians to locate health care facilities near them. Not only is the app location based, it also helps by storing and keeping track of users’ basic health information in case of emergencies. With a database that has over 5,000 medical centres from across Nigeria (dental clinics, pharmacists, optometrists, clinics, hospitals etc), the app also helps users to make the best possible choice when it comes to quality of care.
Another location-based app useful for finding doctors in Nigeria is Hudibia. With built-in video, users can consult a physician, look for a doctor or hospitals, book appointments, and pay medical bills directly from their phones. Available in Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba as well as English, the app also has a voice option.
Another useful, web-based option is Sahara Reporter’s Nigeria Health Portal. They have an extensive database of health care facilities and a listserve for doctors as well as a portal where there’s a list of dodgy doctors, helping users know who to avoid.
There are a lot of innovations going on in the mobile world too, and 911 is an emergency service that covers Nigeria. Flying Doctors is a privately owned Nigerian company that offers trained, on-call health caregivers, air and ground ambulance services, remote site medical solutions, and emergency medical assistance services. For visitors or residents in Lagos, the 767/112 are toll-free emergency lines available. Other states in Nigeria can use the 112 emergency lines.
English is the language of commerce across Nigeria and that’s what most of the doctors speak, but translators are also available if needed (particularly in federal government-owned hospitals).
Teaching hospitals across Nigeria are the safest bet for patients, especially for those who have a medical emergency but are on a budget. Some of them include University College Hospital in Ibadan, Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Lagos, Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, and the University of Nigeria-Nsukka’s Teaching Hospital. There’s also the National Hospital in Abuja and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in Calabar,
Although a bit on the high side, there are some private hospitals like Reddington Hospital in Lagos and Nisa Premier Hospital in Abuja that have standing emergency services and world-class equipment and well-trained health caregivers.