With hospitals in the Nigerian capital under increasing strain amid the coronavirus pandemic, a private medical service has been providing health care at home for some patients with the disease. PrivateMD's team of professionals, equipped with portable medical devices and a couple of ambulances, have been cutting through Lagos traffic to treat people in their homes.
One of their patients is Maricar Tajo, a 46-year-old from the Philippines who moved to Nigeria in 2007 for work. Tajo was resuscitated in a hospital intensive care unit two weeks ago, where she'd fallen unconscious after her oxygen saturation levels dropped. Now, she is receiving treatment at home from PrivateMD.
A section of her apartment has been transformed into a private ward, with oxygen canisters and a mobile oxygen concentration machine. PrivateMD's medical treatments for COVID-19 can range in price from $260 to over $13,000. The company has, however, set up a scheme in which a percentage of their earnings go towards a pool, in an effort to make their services more affordable to those in need.
Tajo lost her job over the course of her treatment, so PrivateMD decided to cover some of her fees under a corporate social responsibility program. The founder of the company, 31-year-old Dr. Ibukun Tunde-Oni, suggested PrivateMD was filling a gap where traditional hospital care in Nigeria is failing. "There are a few public spaces or government hospitals and a few private hospitals," he said. "So that generally leaves so much room for care to be given, which is where we come in."