SPECIAL Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina has said that the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) is the only regulatory agency empowered by law to accredit, register and license premises and locations where quality healthcare services are rendered, be it preventive or curative health services.
Adesina, who disclosed this in Lagos at the second stakeholders’ meeting of health facilities operators and health service providers noted that the clarification on registration of health facility is necessary especially against backdrop of the need to dispel misconception of who is really empowered by law to register health facilities.
She said, “the health facility monitoring and accreditation agency (HEFAMAA), was established in March 2006 by the Health Sector Reform Law of 2006. It took over the activities of the private hospital registration authority, which has been in existence since 1983. The Agency performs it regulatory functions to ensure that the minimum set standard by law are maintained thereby securing the safety of lives of the citizenry.”
The special adviser explained that while the Medical And Dental Council of Nigeria, Nursing Council of Nigeria and the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria is concerned with the accreditation, registration and licensing of doctors, nurses and pharmacist respectively, HEFAMAA concerns itself with registration of clinics, hospitals, maternity homes, convalescent homes, laboratories, diagnostic centers and mortuaries.
Adeshina added that the HEFAMAA stakeholders meeting is meant to be an eye opener to see how many health providers are in darkness as to what the roles of HEFAMAA are and how grey issues concerning its activities can be addressed stressing the first stakeholders’ meeting which took place four months ago was very encouraging as it opened up windows, doors and avenues of interaction between HEFAMAA and all her clients on how to move the health sector forward.
“Suffice it to say that we got a lot of comments which was encouraging. It was really an eye opener to see how many providers were in darkness as to what the roles of HEFAMAA is and how and why we established HEFAMMA. We will continue to encourage this interactive session beyond today,” she said.
The special adviser, however, noted there is an approval to set up ‘e-HEFAMMA,’ which is the electronic version of HEFAMAA that would enable health providers register, pay and make changes online without having to come to HEFAMAA office at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa every time they need to make any adjustment in their paper works.
She stressed that the Agency is not established to witch hunt anybody but to regulate the activities of providers to meet up with the minimum set standards by law to ensure healthy citizenry.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Agency, Dr. Tayo Bello expressed displeasure at the attitude of health care providers to clients who patronise their facilities stressing that the time has come when health providers should pay special attention and emphasis on improving attitude towards clients.
Bello said, “we have incidence where patients complained of uncourteous attendance at both private and public health facilities. There is the case of a private facility that refused to attend to a stabbed security guard who was bleeding profusely until a deposit was paid, this trend is worrisome and HEFAMMA frowns at this.”
Bello added that there were cases where a facility was registered as a clinic and the operator opened another branch without the knowledge of HEFAMAA and was operating full-fledged hospital and maternity centre stressing that the aesthetic look of some facilities speaks volume in terms of dirtiness and very awkward arrangements.
“It is unfortunate that barely four month after we had the first stakeholders meeting when we rubbed minds as to how we can move the health industry in the State forward, some health facilities and operators have not changed for the better as evident in worst scenario of events recorded in their facilities,” the chairman said.
He vowed that HEFAMAA would do the needful to ensure that the minimum set standard by law are maintained by any health facility that operates within the state be it public or private adding that the aim of the stakeholders meeting is to involve all stakeholders in the business of providing care to collectively discuss ways of how to move the healthcare delivery system in the State forward.
“HEFAMAA will not fold its arms when flagrant infractions are committed by stakeholders in the industry. As we speak, a number of health personnel are being investigated by the Personnel Management Board at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Health Service Commission (HSC) for various offences as it relates to the management of patients,” Bello stated.