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$30bn required to tackle Africa’s healthcare challenges— Expert

Dr. Olamide Okulaja, a healthcare finance specialist, says between $25 billion and $30 billion is required to tackle Africa’s healthcare challenges.

Okulaja made the assertion in a lecture he delivered on Monday in Ilorin at the Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) chapter.

The lecture was entitled: “Public Private Partnership in Today’s Healthcare System: Prospects and Challenges.’’

He said that Africa carries 24 per cent of the disease burden in the world, adding that most poor people, inspite of their financial handicap, still access health care from the private sector.

Okulaja pointed out that the healthcare system in Africa was caught in a vicious circle between lack of demand and supply.

He called on the Federal Government to adopt Public Private Partnership (PPP) to reduce government’s struggle that was stretching its healthcare funding.

“Governments everywhere are grappling with rising healthcare costs and increased demand for healthcare services in the face of ongoing budget constraints.

“There are four key factors driving governments worldwide to use the PPP model for health sector improvements,’’ he said.

He said the factors included the desire to improve operation of public health services and facilities; and to expand access to higher quality services, and the opportunity to leverage private investment for the benefit of public services.

Others, he said, were the desire to formalise arrangements with non-profit partners who deliver an important share of public services and more potential partners for governments as private healthcare sector matures.

Okulaja explained that such partnerships create a powerful mechanism for addressing difficult problems by leveraging on the strengths of different partners.

Dr Michael Oguntye, the Director of Primary Healthcare in Kwara, who also delivered a lecture on infectious diseases, said there was a gradual decrease in the amount allotted to healthcare by government.

He described infectious diseases as disorders caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

According to the epidemiologist, infectious disease is a leading cause of death in the world.

He also warned of the re-emergence of old diseases and the emergence of new ones.

Oguntoye stated that with the huge fund needed to fight infectious diseases, PPP remained the best alternative for government to adopt.

In her submission on domestic violence, Mrs Oluronke Adeyemi, Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kwara branch, said the scourge had significant impact on the health and well-being of women.

According to her, this is both in the immediate and long term as well as continuing even after the relationship has ended.

She said that the psychological consequences of violence could be as serious as the physical effects, adding that exposure to violence leads to poorer physical health.

According to her, there are unusual cases where the men are also abused.

Domestic violence, she added, could take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse as well as threats of abuse.

“Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women,” she said.

The lawyer advised women and men facing abuse not to keep silent on the issue but seek for help, adding that FIDA was a body dedicated to such issues.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Dr Ade Faponle, President of UITH ARD, said that the association had contributed its quota during the outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state through provision of necessary kits, drugs and awareness campaign.

He described the themes discussed at the meeting as apt and critical, saying they would sensitise the public and government on issues bordering on the health of the citizenry. (NAN)


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