Read the step-by-step guide on how to start a clinic in Nigeria. Here, you will find the eligibility, registration procedures and equipment needed.
A clinic is a healthcare facility where people; mostly outpatients are diagnosed and treated for ailments.
As opposed to hospitals, clinics focus more on rendering general practice services to outpatients. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, private clinics render about 60% of the health care services to the population of cities in Nigeria.
Running a clinic in Nigeria is actually a very profitable venture. This is because there is a constant need for the delivery of health care services in our country. As a matter fact, there seems to be a shortage of clinics to serve the people.
Private clinics appeal to a majority of people because the government owned health care facilities are seen to have been largely mismanaged over the years. Coupled with this, doctors and nurses in Nigeria are notorious for going on strike to press home their demands. When this happens, people are left with no other option than to consult private clinics.
Engaging in this business venture will definitely yield profit for the proprietor, if it is done properly. In this article, you will see the basic steps on how to start a clinic in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, only properly trained doctors with significant years of experience are allowed to own their own clinics. Also, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, any registered and properly trained nurse with a minimum of five years working experience can set up a clinic to handle only minor cases. These clinics must ensure that they refer all cases beyond them to the nearest general hospital for assistance.
The setting up and running of a clinic in Nigeria is very strictly regulated by the government agencies. The following are some of the steps one has to take before you decide to start a clinic in Nigeria.
Do the Required Registration
As earlier stated, the set up and running of clinics in Nigeria is very strictly regulated by the government. It is very serious offence to operate a clinic in Nigeria without doing all the required registrations and accreditations.
First of all, you must begin by going to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). After completing the registration with the CAC, you will have to go ahead to register with the Federal Ministry of Health. Here, they will confirm if you have the required qualifications that will give you the legal rights to operate a clinic.
In most states of Nigeria, there are bodies that have been set up to monitor the activities of private clinics within the state. These bodies are set up to ensure that clinics maintain a laid down standard and to prevent the proliferation of quacks.
In Lagos State, they have the State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), and before anyone can operate a health facility in the state, that person must be registered with HEFAMAA. HEFAMAA requires that anyone willing to register a clinic must meet the following;
- The medical practitioner in charge must be adequately qualified in the practice of medicine.
- Have registered and qualified nursing staff with a qualified matron to supervise them
- A clinic premises approved by the authority
- Suitable and adequate equipment
- Adequate number of beds for inpatients
- If the clinic engages in compounding of drugs, a qualified pharmacist registered with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) must be employed.
Along with the above listed requirements, the following documents have to be provided
- Passport sized photographs of the proprietor and medical director
- Certificate of full registration as a medical practitioner
- Photocopy of evidence of current practicing licence of all the doctors, nurses and midwives in the facility
- Staff list
- Access diagram of how to reach the clinic
- Sketch of the clinic with labels and measurements in metres
- Certificates and qualifications of doctors, nurses and midwives from college / university
These are the requirements for the registration of a clinic according to the Lagos State government. Although the requirements in all states might be similar, you will need to research on the requirements that are specific to the state where you intend to start your clinic.
Select a Location
The above listed requirements clearly shows that the registration of clinics in Nigeria follows a very strict process. The regulating body will also require you to pick a suitable location for the clinic. While they will only specify the requirements for the building, the specific location of your clinic is up to you.
Just like any other business, the location of your clinic will go a long way in ensuring success in the long run. The most important factor you have to consider is accessibility. It is very important that your clinic is located in a place that people can easily reach.
Hire the Right Staff
The importance of hiring the right people cannot be over emphasized. As earlier stated the regulating bodies require that you only hire qualified professionals to work in your clinic. Ensure that you scrutinize the certificates of your doctors and nurses to ensure that you do not run afoul of the law guiding health institutions. It is also advisable to hire a hospital administrator to cater for the day to day administrative duties.
Buy Your Equipment
For a start, it is better to focus on the basic equipment that can enable the clinic to start off and also handle simple medical cases. Some of the basic things include;
- Beds: The number of which depends on the size of your clinic
- Medical Instruments: Instruments for minor surgeries, labour and delivery
- Clinic Cards: To be used to register patients
- Telephone: An intercom system to ease communication within the premises
- Office Furniture
- Vital Signs Equipment: Equipment such as scale (for checking weight), sphygmomanometer (for checking blood pressure) and stethoscope
- Fans: To keep the clinic cool. You can go for air conditioners if you have the capital
- Standby Generator.
As your clinic expands, you can then proceed to purchase other more sophisticated equipment.
A thorough understanding of the above listed steps will put you on a good footing to go about starting your own clinic. However, it will pay to carry out your own research to know the specific requirement in your locality.
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