- HEALTH INSURANCE
First thing is to sign up for health insurance from the National Health insurance scheme www.nhis.gov.ng. They provide health plans via HMO’s (health maintainance organizations). Do this when you are well so when you fall sick you don’t use up all your savings paying from your pocket. Insurance helps spread the cost of care and gives you access to more expensive treatments than would otherwise be available. The NHIS website has a list of accepted hospitals in the various states.
- SELECT THE RIGHT PLACE
Get recommendations from local websites such as www.healthpages.com.ng and from people who have had a similar problem to you. Ask them where they went to and how they found out to go there. Ask them what their experience was like, who they saw and what the outcome was. Talk to enough people and you get a general trend of where to avoid and where to possibly go.
- PLAN AHEAD
When you do select a hospital, call ahead of time to find out when and where the clinics are and attend early. If you have a problem you’re unsure of, attend a general clinic. They can usually treat you or point you in the direction of a specialist if one is needed. Attend a paediatric clinic if for a child and a obstetrics or gynaecology clinic if for pregnant woman or womanly issues respectively.
- BE PREPARED
Think about what you plan to discuss with the doctor before hand and write it down. Make sure to highlight what is your biggest problem and how long its been going on for. Frame in your mind what outcome you want from your visit to the doctor. Vague patients usually don’t get as good an outcome as clear, thoughtful patients. Also, think of any questions you may have and write them down. Avoid ‘Dr google’ for now, It’s usually better to consult google after you have seen your doctor and discussed your symptoms and the possible diagnoses.
- BRING PREVIOUS DETAILS
If you have attended other doctors or hospitals in the past, bring all the letters, reports, blood results and medications you have. Without this information you will be handicapping your doctor a great deal.
Implement the above tips and you will see the quality of health care you receive improve vastly.
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