Health care across the world relies upon trust between health care professionals and their patients. Patients must trust that their doctors and nurses in working to the highest possible standard, and that if they are not, their worries, concerns and complaints will be listened to. If they are not taken into consideration, then it could lead to a hospital, or even the health sector as a whole, stagnating or falling behind required standards of treatment. This is the case across the world, but in Africa, often there are situations in which health care is sub standard. This can be down to a lack of resources, but there are times when it is incompetence, and lack of care and attention.
Nevertheless, complaint receiving from a patient can be extremely worrying and stressful. Complaints can come in different forms. Either directly from the patients themselves, via a co-worker or from your work place staff members in other departments, but the effect is the same. Many reasons can be argued as to why there are complaints from patients, but the reality is that if people are not happy, something needs to be done. A complaint can be made as a result of either your personal, professional, or even colleague’s behaviour. The manner in which you deal with a patient’s complaint is very crucial as a result because it determines many factors that can affect your job negatively. From deciding whether the matter goes to senior management, or to patient’s lawyers, the uneasiness it causes is disturbing and unhealthy.
Health care across Africa is a complex theme, with each region, country and even local area dealing with their own contextual issues. Nigeria is no exception, when it comes to the issue of patients and their complaints in the health sector. Over the years, medical practice in Nigeria has taken baby steps and evolved in capacity building and practice of doctors, in terms of patients’ needs and relationships of the various factors determining the frequency and distribution of diseases in a human community. The transition towards finding solutions to arising problems continues to grow. Nigeria plays a significant role as a user of mHealth solutions for instance, which is an innovative mobile program that distribute calls on weekly basis to pregnant women concerning fetal health care. This program does not only improve service delivery in the health sector but it also saves money for most pregnant women to travel to clinics. A March 2015 article by Darren M. west further states that mHealth gives mobile efficiency to physicians access as they are able to respond more punctually to patient needs as well as less mistakes in medication preparations and hospital discharging sheets.
It is undeniable that there are still many problems yet to be addressed in the health sector in Nigeria but the fact that solutions are coming up shows the extent to which the country is willing to take responsibility for its own people. This does not, however, mean that patients voice must be ignored because it would be nonsensical for the Department of Health to claim to be delivering quality health care service to the patients while patients remain unhappy with the service delivery they are given. As mobile intelligence and smartphone growth continues to massively blaze and technologically transform in Africa, its inheritors are fast developing beyond imagination and the fruits more fulfilling. The number of health solutions who have become part of these growth or venturing into it are also on the rise.
A group of Nigerian doctors have joined and become part of these growth with their launching of an app that is aimed at reducing the amount to time patients have to wait in order to get medical attendance. The app which is known as KompleteCare has played a significant goal in revolutionising African health as it allows its users to magnify timely access to medical care and health facilities. Consultations are freely done on a mobile phone, tablets or any other electronic device, cutting out the excessive amount of time one would have spent on long queues.
Due to the high population in Nigeria, it still a challenge to get access to clinics by most rural villagers. KompleteCare, which is available on the Play store, has bridged that gap by allowing even the remotest people to have access via video and audio online consultation giving doctors access in responding effectively to the needs at hand. Access to the web and communicating via mobile phones has also promoted the functionality of home based care services since people can easily ask questions freely and immediately which eliminates taboos and myths about certain diseases while empowering people with knowledge at the same time.
If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.