By Peter Uzoho
Lagoon Hospitals, Nigeria’s largest private healthcare services group, has received for the fourth consecutive times, the Joint International Commission (JCI)’s ‘The Gold Seal of Approval’.
The Gold Seal of Approval is an accreditation of the United States-based JCI, done every three years, which symbolises quality that reflects an organisation’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.
Lagoon Hospitals headquartered in Ikoyi, Lagos, recently emerged as the only hospital group in Nigeria and West Africa to be accredited by the JCI for four consecutive times and also one of the two healthcare services groups in Sub-Saharan Africa to receive the accreditation.
The hospital first bagged the accreditation in 2011 and repeated it in 2015, 2018 and 2021.
Announcing the latest accreditation yesterday in Lagos at a press conference, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagoon Hospitals, Dr. Olujimi Coker, said the “re-accreditation by the JCI demonstrates our continuous compliance with internationally-recognised standard.”
Coker explained that the hospital underwent a rigorous survey during which a team of JCI expert surveyors evaluated the group’s compliance with hospital standards related to a a variety of areas.
Such areas, according to him, included international patient safety goals, patient assessment and care, anesthesia and surgical care, medication management, patient and family education, and quality improvement, infection prevention and control.
He added that other such criteria looked at by the JCI were governance and leadership, facility management, staff qualifications and education, and information management.
Coker said JCI representatives commended the hospital for passing the more than 1,200 measurable elements or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to retain its status as a quality improvement organisation.
He noted that the achievement demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to patient safety and quality, adding that just like it did not feel complacent in the previous accreditations, this latest one would spur it to be more committed to quality healthcare delivery.
Speaking on the importance of the accreditation to the hospital and to Nigeria’s healthcare system, Coker said for the hospital, it meant more responsibility in guaranteeing the safety and effective care of its patients.
He said: “What the hospital guarantees you is that anybody that walks through our door as a patient, our emphasis is to ensure that they are safe; they have effective care, and that the care we provide meets international standards
“We got our first JCI accreditation in 2011 and within that time, what we have been able to do is to train, continuously training different healthcare professionals that have passed through our system but are now distributed across Nigeria, who are now leaders in quality healthcare in Nigeria.
“There is no quality healthcare mechanism or organism in Nigeria that you can visit that one or two of the top people there wouldn’t be alumni of Lagoon Hospitals.”
He stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had made everyone to realise that there was need for all to have a stake in ensuring that the country is able to cater to the healthcare needs of the country.
Coker argued that if the billions of dollars spent in the past years on medical tourism had been invested on the country’s health sector, Nigeria would have been able produce its COVID-19 vaccine.
He said vaccine nationalism is currently trending and that Europe and the United Kingdom have been having discussions on how to produce their own vaccine for their countries.
He said such developments should be a lesson for Nigerians to learn that only Nigerians can jointly look after the country’s health needs.
“You see, the billion dollars that leave the shores of Nigeria to go to India, South Africa, Dubai, if we had invested that in Nigeria, we would have been able to produce our own vaccine. We would have been able to do a lot more things because one needs investment and that investment needs to be in-country.
“I have a theory that the only people who can look after and solve Nigeria’s healthcare problems are not Indians, they are not Egyptians. They are Nigerians,” Coker added