Dr. Olujimi Coker, CEO at Lagoon Hospitals, discusses his company’s total commitment to excellent, professional, affordable and responsive medical solutions of high standards in Nigeria.
Nigeria is transforming.
Having been regarded as one of the lowest ranked countries in terms of healthcare access, the country is slowly rebuilding that reputation and today offers its people world-class care.
On the back of recent healthcare disasters, there have been numerous improvements to the country’s healthcare infrastructure in the fight to end diseases such as polio. There have been efforts such as a decentralised disease control network and improved vaccine storage, resulting in Nigeria not just being on the cusp of eliminating the illness, but also being better equipped to fight other diseases such as Ebola and COVID-19.
Lagoon Hospitals is renowned for delivering healthcare of international standards in Nigeria. Established in 1984, Lagoon Hospitals is currently the largest private healthcare services in Nigeria with six healthcare facilities (Apapa, Ikoyi, Awolowo way Ikeja, Adeniyi Jones Ikeja, Idejo). The organisation offers a network of healthcare facilities in Nigeria and is regarded as a frontrunner of advanced medical care with total commitment to excellent, professional, affordable and responsive medical solutions of high standards in Nigeria.
Lagoon Hospitals employs more than 30 full-time specialist doctors, which range across different specialties and are all supported by standardised care protocols that help deliver consistent patient care. The talent pool is further strengthened by qualified and well-trained nursing and technical professionals that are trained in the latest techniques across various specialties and have implemented global best practices in caregiving.
And sitting at the helm of operations at Lagoon Hospitals is Dr. Olujimi Coker. Having qualified from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and an intercollegiate fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, he has served served as CEO since 2019.
“I had my specialist surgical training in the United Kingdom with basic surgical training in Greater Manchester and higher surgical training in South Yorkshire around Sheffield University Teaching Hospitals,” he recalls. “I’m a graduate of the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD European Institute of Business in France.”
In 1999, Coker was appointed Senior Lecturer in Surgery at Northern General Hospital and University of Sheffield. In November 1999, he joined Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Trust as Consultant General Surgeon with specialist interest in Coloproctology and minimal access surgery.
“I returned to Nigeria in January 2011 to lead the surgical strategy at Hygeia Nigeria and was appointed Chief of Surgery at Lagoon Hospitals,” he explains. “In January 2016, I became Chief Medical Director and CEO in 2019. I’m a board member of the Society for Quality Healthcare in Nigeria (SQHN) and The Chairman, SQHN Accreditation Committee. Also, The President of Laparoscopic Surgery Society of Nigeria and chair the surgical section of African Cancer Coalition.”
Lagoon Hospitals is the only Nigerian or West African Hospital to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) four consecutive times and one of two in Sub-Saharan African to be accredited. The Joint Commission International is the globally acclaimed and recognised agency certifying hospitals and healthcare organisations with world standards and best practice in healthcare delivery.
Also, Lagoon Hospitals has Kaizen institute working with the team to drive client-centric services and processes.
At Lagoon Hospitals, its topmost priority embedded in every member of staff is patient safety, great customer experience and clinical excellence, while also ensuring proper compliance with laws and regulations that affect or concern the business. The organisation’s strengths include offering critical care, trauma and orthopaedics, advanced minimal access surgery (general surgery, urology and neurosurgery), mother and childcare with neonatal intensive care. Lagoon Hospitals operates as part of Hygeia Nigeria and has consistently provided healthcare of international standards to the people of Nigeria, while acting as a pioneer within the country. Indeed, Lagoon Hospitals was the first private hospital within the country to perform an open-heart surgery, solely by resident Nigerian healthcare professionals. Lagoon Hospitals in Apapa and Ikeja hospitals became the first hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa to earn JCI accreditation.
Recently, the organisation enhanced its tertiary care services, with influential medical programmes like neurosciences as well as orthopaedics, which include joint replacements and arthroplasty. Lagoon Hospitals also offers cardio thoracic surgery, non-interventional cardiology, and has developed nephrology, urology, critical care and neo-natal critical care.
Lagoon Hospitals operates centralised procurement within its supply chain, while maintaining long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with manufacturers.
“Assurance of quality and seamless supply of products are the key benefits of the partnership we have with our suppliers, and we are one of the pioneer signatories to Ethical Principles in Healthcare (EPIHC),” notes Coker. While, he also notes that EPIHAC is an International Finance Corporation initiative.
Across all its facilities, adapting COVID-19 protocols was an easy transition for Lagoon Hospitals due to the focus of quality policies. “We have roll-up banners and flyers at strategic points across our facilities on the need for physical distancing, ensuring proper hand hygiene and wearing face masks,” says Coker.
“We were also quick to implement teleconsultation and other forms of virtual care including drive in pick-up of prescriptions and laboratory tests. We also encouraged staff to work from home if not required in hospital.”
Lagoon Hospitals value the efforts of its staff. To Coker, he places self-improvement and development at the top of his agenda. “There is a leadership development framework for high-performing employees who can manage complex tasks,” he explains. “We dedicate two days every week (a total of three hours weekly) for company-wide staff training. We give ample opportunity for members of staff to learn and grow on the job through exposure to various processes and participation in projects and other formal learning programmes.
The hospital also sponsors members of staff for conferences and seminars both locally and internationally.”
Top of Lagoon Hospitals’ list of priorities is to provide affordable healthcare of high-quality standards to Nigerians within Nigeria without having to leave the country. Over the years, Lagoon Hospitals has won various awards and these recognitions are testament of its impact on healthcare within Nigeria. Other achievements include being the first hospital in Africa to have a metallic replacement of whole arm bone and joints, as well as being the private hospital where the first open-heart surgery in Nigeria was performed.
Lagoon Hospitals has one goal – to provide the best standards of patient care. And the organisation isn’t content to rest on its laurels. It is planning a new centre and has an ambition to reach 500 from its current base of 150 beds – it’s clear they aren’t finished yet.