John Knowtes, a renowned American author once wrote that, “Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him; it is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, as he makes the most definite impact on the society”.
For Dr Andy Akpotive, the authorship of his bestseller titled “Unveiled-How to run a Profitable Hospital Business in Nigeria”, is a dream come true and a rare feat that defines his passion towards promoting excellence in the Nigerian medical sector.
The young entrepreneur and advocate of principles in the practice of medicine who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview in Port Harcourt, recently, said the stunted growth of the Nigerian medical sector was mostly as a result of lack of proper diagnosis of the structural deficiencies and operations of the sector. For this reason he said, most Nigerian doctors and medical practitioners have opted to seek professional solace elsewhere, while Nigerians now earn a negative reputation of seeking medical attention beyond the shores of the country.
According to Dr Akportive, the unbridled drive towards medical tourism outside Nigeria, without addressing the prevalent challenges in the country’s health sector, was a disturbing phenomenon that required urgent attention.
Akportive who is also a public Affairs analyst and social reformer, identified the deficiencies of insight in leadership as being grossly responsible for institutional failure in Nigeria, and called on the government to invest meaningfully in the health sector.
“The leadership of this country is yet to fathom the reality and responsibilities of governance. It is regrettable that Nigerian doctors perform exceedingly well abroad, but at home they lack the incentives to discharge their professional duties optimally. There is need for proper diagnosis of the challenges in the health sector, and other sectors of the economy, the economic expansion needed for stable employment and promotion of excellence in service delivery can only be attained, when our institutions are functional”.
Asked what motivated him to write the book, Akpotive said: “My passion for the health sector has led me to write a robust piece that will speak to the Nigerian peculiarities, while catering to the challenging questions and realities of health care administrators, medical and allied medical students, workers and investors, helping them to achieve efficiency of training and care for the patients”.
The seasoned health care administrator, who described the book as a compendium of practical ideas, explained that the work provides solutions for effective strategies in management and operations in health care services, especially in leadership, machinery, merchandise and general information.
As such, he said this work serves as in antidote to the erroneous assumption in third world countries, that success in business was a violation of moral principles, noting that the desired free enterprise system can only strive on robust businesses acumen.
Like the great philosopher Alfred Whitehead, Dr Akpotive believes that “Style is the ultimate morality of the mind”, implying that there must be constant redifinition of goals in every sector to put the country on a strong pedestal of economic growth.
With no self serving intentions of touting his laurels or achievements, Dr Akpotive said the efforts he devoted in writing the book was worth it, as he was convinced that the work, if put into judicious use, will help in checking the foul-ups and culpable failures that have stunted the development of the Nigeria medical sector.
On how the book relate to the very personality of the author, Dr Akpotive said, “I am a man with a knack for excellence and deep commitment in all my engagements, the work is a product of deep research and offshoot of over 14 years experience in administering small, medium and large scale hospitals in Nigeria, helping them to attain set milestones and targets. The work contains over 209 ways to defect fraud in hospitals and there controls, exceptional customer service in hospitals, kinds of patients in the hospital and how to deal with them”.
Akpotive also added that the lucidity of the work was beyond its aesthetic cover, but a factual presentation of creative ideas delivered in adroit professional prowess and rendition for easy digestion. Speaking on the relationship between the academic institutions and medical practice, he called for a stronger synergy to enhance research and effective service delivery.
“One of the major challenges in the Nigerian health sector is the lack of research development. There should be stronger synergy between the academic and the industry, “we have professors who are not committed to research, such docility on the part of scholars is inimical to research development, medical practice is dynamic and cannot thrive on old inefficiencies. Both medical scholars and practitioners should be encouraged to engage in research to promote excellence”.
The author was also deeply concerned about the decline in reading culture in the society. According to him the absence of a virile reading culture was the sign of a degenerating society. To get Nigerians reading again, he canvassed for a total re-ordering of the Nigerian educational system, where the leaders will embrace the culture of reading and knowledge acquisition to function effectively in the art of governance. He also admonished parents to embrace the reading culture and communicate knowledge to their children.
“The absence of an effective reading culture and dearth of intellectualism is also at the root of Nigeria’s development crisis. Nigerians are overwhelmed by their physiological needs and do not have time to read or seek knowledge. We also have a leadership’s structure that detests knowledge; these are ominous signs for our development as a nation. Any society that does not promote knowledge gropes in the dark and becomes the butt of sadistic jokes of other promising societies”.
He further averred that, commitment to a knowledge driven economy in Nigeria will help in liberating the people from the shackles of ignorance and the glorification of mediocrity. The activist also called for the review of the school curriculum to promoting the reading culture and advocated for the encouragement of authors to enhance the frontiers of knowledge.
It is regrettable that in Nigeria, authors and readers are not given any accolades or incentives to promote their works. Rather beauty pageantry and Big brother shows are promoted at the expense of scholarly works, through bogus and mouthwatering incentives”.
“The government and other related institutions should organise quiz competitions and encourage readers and authors through incentives”, Dr Akpotive, also took a swipe at the federal government over its tendency to gauge popular opinion as demonstrated recently in the African Independent Television (AIT), Federal Government debacle. He pointed out that it was totally wrong for government to gauge press freedom or douse plurality of opinions in a democracy.
He said the deliberate effort of a government to stop dissenting voices, in democracy without seeking constitutional measures to address contentious issues was the shortest route to despotism. He added that the beauty of a democracy was for critical stakeholders to appraise the government to enhance checks and balances in the art of governance.
“Any government that only basks in praises and commendations, and views criticism with a sense of disdain is not worthy of its name. There must be room for checks and balances to curtail the excesses of the wielders of power. It is not only fundamental but a moral right for people to air their critical views, but there is also limit to freedom of speech which is enshrined in the constitution and should be treated within the ambit of the law”.
Akpotive also sent a strong message to the youthful generation on how to pick up the gauntlet and play active roles in the leadership of the country. According to him, the only way for the youth to have a strong footing in leadership was to embrace education and liberate themselves from the allure of political slavery.
“The youth constitute the active population in Nigeria, but their role in leadership is passive, they operate at the beck and call of their political slave drivers who are not ready to relinquish power voluntarily to them, but always want the youth to be engage in unsavoury duties.
Dr Akpotive also has deep admiration for the leadership style of the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, especially in his passion to develop Rivers State.
In a widely publicized broadcast message at his instance recently, he appealed to all power brokers in the state to yield to the dictates of nature and support the governor to continue to dispense quality leadership in the state. He holds a strong opinion that governance is a fundamental obligation that goes beyond mere partisan considerations, and should be accorded the deepest sense of regards.