By Providence Emmanuel
Experts in the Health sector have said that all hands must be on deck to reinvent Africa, especially Nigeria’s healthcare service delivery.
The experts; Prof. Khama Rogo, Lead Health Specialist, World Bank Group; Mrs. Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria; Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Founder, Wellbeing Foundation Africa; Dr. Inyang Asibong, Commissioner for Health, Cross River State; Dr. Kabiru Getso, Commissioner for Health, Kano State; among others spoke at a panel discussion on the background of the Medic West Africa Leaders Conference/Exhibition with the theme: Reinventing Healthcare Service Delivery in Lagos.
They said that there is a need to put human resources to work, looking at different ways of engaging people to work, even as they call for a change in the way the sector is being financed.
Omatseye said: “So much lip service is paid to the health sector. There is a divide between the healthcare providers and the government. Everyone has right to healthcare. Nigerian patients are not less than any patient in any country.
“Public-Private Partnership is critical for the sustainability of this sector, it has been abused. It means collaboration, partnership, not people dictating for you to implement, we need to get our policies right. We can do much with collaboration,” she said.
According to Rogo: “This sector is not complex, what is complex is the way we put it; we need to adopt the common sense solution. Nigeria has 60,000 doctors, 30,000 are in this country and most of them are unemployed, the other 30,000 are outside, treating Americans, English men and the Arabians.
“Cuba has the same number of doctors, Nigeria’s population is 200 million and their population is 11million. In Cuba, 30,000 of them are deployed in the country, each one of them doing one useful work or the other, the other 30,000 are outside Cuba, lent to countries like ours to come and help us,” he said.
Earlier, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole said that reinventing healthcare services require strong governance of the health system at all levels, stressing that reinventing healthcare services means all is not well with the present health system.
Adewole who was represented by Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Clement Uwaifo, said that the greatest impact of the system in reinventing, is to have a clear human resources for health sub- systems for realising an efficient and effective service delivery.
He stated: “A total of 10,000 primary healthcare centres, one per political ward, would be revitalised and functional before the end of this administration. A revitalised primary health centre for 24 hours service provision will have structural rehabilitation, essential medicine and vaccine and operational cost met with the basic health care provision fund.
“Throughout the entire healthcare system, the availability of essential medicines requires deserved attention. The direction now, is to improve local production of medicines while we discourage the importation of those that could be produced here.”