The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deplorable state of hospital buildings in Nigeria, the Head, Department of Building, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, Prof. Adenuga Afolarin, has stated.
He said the neglect of the country’s health infrastructure, such as buildings, had been brought to fore by the deadly virus.
He said, “The recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease has raised global health concerns and in the process exposed the state of public hospital buildings and their services in Nigeria.
“Health experts have equally raised the alarm over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, warning that the country’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed.”
Afolarin added, “One of the major factors that could be responsible is the neglect of maintenance of our public hospital buildings, which are in deplorable structural and decorative state.”
The fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Building noted that as technology changes with regard to hospitals, so do maintenance requirements.
He said, “Technology is time-dependent. As time progresses, so does technology change. With many developments coming to light every day, health care facilities must be prepared to accommodate whatever the future holds.”
Afolarin explained that healthcare facilities were designed and managed not only to support and facilitate state-of- the-art medicine and technology, patient safety, and quality patient care, but to also embrace the patient, family and caregivers in a psycho-socially supportive therapeutic environment.
He stressed that the qualities of the physical environment in which patients received care affected patient recovery rate, staff satisfaction and organisation productivity, as such effects could be positive or negative.
He said, “Basically, government-operated public hospitals are to provide cost-effective and specialist services that are safe and of high quality, respond to individual needs, accessible and equitably and efficiently delivered, regardless of geographic location.
“Healthcare buildings should meet physical requirements of safety and security. They should also contribute to the environment by ensuring good functionality, meeting expectations in terms of privacy and dignity, providing good access for all, reducing infection and minimising accidents.”
Afolarin, however, observed that government–owned hospitals were confronted with unique challenges that threatened their existence.
He urged the government to provide necessary resources to ensure the functionality of the services of hospital buildings so as to improve users’ satisfaction.
Afolarin further stated that maintenance workers must be well motivated in order to deliver their best during the maintenance work execution.