September 23, 2022

Nigeria’s health system unfit for future global health emergencies – Survey

Insurance firm equips Ikorodu hospital with digital ultra-scan machine

….73% of healthcare workers blame lack of financial support as biggest threat

By Sola Ogundipe

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s health system is unfit to cope with another global health emergency as a result of pressures triggered by inadequate financial support and non-access to critical equipment, new research has established.

New global research of health and care workers exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic found that nearly three-quarters of Nigeria’s healthcare workers identified lack of funding as a major threat on their lives and to their expectations of the future of healthcare.

According to the research, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the World Innovative Summit for Health, WISH, 73 percent of Nigeria’s healthcare workers have stated that a lack of financial support will be one of the biggest threats to their national health system in the event of a new global health emergency in the next five years.

The study found that 75 percent of the health workers specified a lack of access to equipment, and more than half (54 percent) said lack of preparation, will also be significant in such a crisis.

In terms of current pressures, nearly a third (27 per cent) of Nigeria’s healthcare workers revealed budgets being tighter as one of the biggest changes they have experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19. This was much less of an issue for their peers in the US (20 percent), Brazil (18 percent), India (15 per cent), the UK (10 per cent), and Saudi Arabia (5 per cent).

Furthermore, 53 per cent pointed to a lack of leadership as a major roadblock to the resilience of their national health system, and Nigeria’s healthcare workers were also the most likely (19 per cent) to see lack of technology among the greatest obstacles to address, in contrast to their peers in Brazil (15 percent), India (13 per cent), US (8 per cent), Saudi Arabia (6 per cent) and the UK (5 per cent).

The survey, which included healthcare professionals from Nigeria, the UK, the US, Saudi Arabia, India, and Brazil, aimed to gain insights into the impacts of dealing with COVID-19 on healthcare workers’ lives, shine a light on their experiences, as well as explore what the future of healthcare might look like according to those serving on the frontline of care delivery.

In a statement, Sultana Afdhal, the CEO of WISH said: “In a country where 4 in 10 people are living beneath the poverty line, these findings spotlight the dire need to accelerate supportive action that will protect these communities from losing access to health services that they have a right to.

“As global health advocates, we urge nations, governments, and global health organizations to join forces, strategize and lead efforts to ensure that health systems in all countries are strengthened and are protected from failing under the pressure of future global health crises.” 

WISH, a health initiative of the Qatar Foundation is a global platform that gathers healthcare experts, policymakers, and innovators to unite in the goal of building a healthier world.

It is dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices. Since its launch in 2012, its biennial summit has become a significant healthcare event in the global calendar.

The biennial WISH Summit, taking place October 4 – 6 in Doha, Qatar, and virtually, aims to showcase WISH’s evidence-based research and discuss how to translate these findings into practical, policy-driven solutions that help transform global healthcare delivery.

The sixth edition of the summit will run under the banner of “Healing the Future.”

The summit will thoroughly explore the legacy of COVID-19 from various perspectives, including how to build more resilient and sustainable healthcare systems, improve our response to the mental health crisis faced by health and care workers, and harness the rapid progress in pharmaceutical innovation that has taken place during the pandemic.