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Nigeria at 62: Practitioners commend gain in health sector 

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 As Nigeria marks her 62nd Independence Anniversary on Saturday some health practitioners have commended the gains recorded in the sector while calling for more efforts to address some lingering challenges in healthcare delivery The experts made their views known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos NAN reports that Independence Day celebrated annually on Oct 1 marks Nigeria s proclamation of independence from British rule on Oct 1 1960 Prof Babatunde Salako the Director General of Nigeria Institute of Medical Research NIMR said that the country was capable of moving the health sector higher Salako said Nigeria at 62 surely has something to celebrate in the health sector because the sector is not where it was pre independence There are discernible developments in the number of hospitals across the country We now train our own workforce and have some of the hospitals performing well in terms of access to good health We may not be where we want to be yet but we are certainly not at ground zero because many useful health sector reforms have been effected while our health insurance has also recently been strengthened Innovative funding has been created to support health system financing the Basic Health Care Provision Fund National Health Act recently amended to govern the system I believe we have what we need to change the narrative and improve the weak health system now and what we need is implementation of these policies especially funding and government commitment to He also called for the review of renumeration and condition of service for health personnel There is a need to review the health workforce remuneration and conditions of service but that has to be within what the nation s economy can carry Salako said Similarly Mr Adewale Oladigbolu the National President Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria ACPN said that in spite the gains made in the health sector since Independence there were still grounds to be covered Oladigbolu said efforts should be put in place for Nigerians to have access to more preventive medication to reduce the burden of diseases and inflections From 1960 we have made some improvement and gains in our health system but there is still a lot of grounds to cover to attain the height where we ought to be by now As at 1960 the training institutions and medical personnel we had were fewer compared to what we have now However our population has grown in a geometric proportion to the extent that the more we produce the more we seem to need The current situation on ground shows that we have a lot of ground to cover based on the health indices F mor example our immunisation coverage in the rural areas is about 16 per cent and 44 per cent in the urban areas These percentages are very low and this is something we ought to have achieved 100 per cent coverage judging by the resources available to the country On Maternal Mortality HIV infections he said the rates were still high as ge emphasised the need to do more for people to have access to preventive medication Thiese gaps can be bridge if we do the needful he said For Dr Tunji Akintade a General Physician he called for utilisation of taxes for health insurance financing to drive the attainment of Universal Health Coverage UHC According to the World Health Organisation WHO UHC means that all people have access to the health services they need when and where they need them without financial hardship Akintade noted that Nigeria s inability to achieve UHC was impeded by its reliance on premium to drive health insurance financing noting that premium in a depressed economy would not achieve much He said that out of pocket spending which constituted 70 to 80 per cent of spending for health services was no longer sustainable as it inflicted undue financial pressure on citizens No country in the world has achieved UHC using premium it s done using taxes This is a major reason we ve not been able to achieve the UHC that we ve been clamouring for Ghana is around 35 to 40 per cent Norway is around 80 to 90 per cent while in Nigeria we are around five per cent he said Akintade a former Chairman Association of Nigeria Private Medical Practitioners ANPMP appealed to the three levels of government to widen the nation s tax net to capture more businesses especially those in the informal sector According to him doing this will ensure a robust and effective health insurance to save lives and reduce morbidity He added that steps should also be made to ensure effective regulation to prevent corruption from hindering access to the fund Akintade lauded the Federal Government for the establishment of a Vulnerable Group Fund to ensure health insurance coverage of 83 million poor Nigerians who could not afford to pay premiums He noted that such initiatives through the National Health Insurance Authority should be enhanced to impact more citizens NewsSourceCredit NAN
Nigeria at 62: Practitioners commend gain in health sector 

Independence Anniversar

As Nigeria marks her 62nd Independence Anniversary on Saturday, some health practitioners  have commended the gains recorded in  the sector while calling for more efforts to address some lingering challenges in healthcare delivery.

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News Agency of Nigeria

The experts made their views known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

nigerian news up date

Independence Day

NAN reports that Independence Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 1, marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule on Oct. 1, 1960.

nigerian news up date

Babatunde Salako

 Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), said that the country was capable of moving the health sector higher.

Salako said: “Nigeria at 62 surely has something to celebrate in the health sector because the sector is not where it was pre-independence.

“There are discernible developments in the number of hospitals across the country.

“We now train our own workforce, and have some of the hospitals performing well in terms of access to good health.

“We may not be where we want to be yet, but we are certainly not at ground zero because many useful health sector reforms have been effected while our health insurance has also recently been strengthened.

Basic Health Care Provision Fund

“Innovative funding has been created to support health system financing, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund. National Health Act recently amended to govern the system.

“I believe we have what we need to change the narrative and improve the weak health system now and what we need is implementation of these policies especially funding and government commitment to.

He also called for the review of renumeration and condition of service for health personnel.

“There is a need to review the health workforce remuneration and conditions of service but that has to be within what the nation’s economy can carry,” Salako said.

Adewale Oladigbolu

Similarly, Mr Adewale Oladigbolu, the National President, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), said that in spite the gains made in the health sector since Independence, there were still grounds to be covered.

Oladigbolu said efforts should be put in place for Nigerians to have access to more preventive medication to reduce the burden of diseases and inflections.

“From 1960, we have made some improvement and gains in our health system but there is still a lot of grounds to cover to attain the height where we ought to be by now.

“As at 1960, the training institutions and medical personnel we had were  fewer compared to what we have now.

“However, our population has grown in a geometric proportion to the extent that the more we produce, the more we seem to need.

“The current situation on ground shows that we have a lot of ground to cover based on the health indices.

“F,mor example, our immunisation coverage in the rural areas is about 16 per cent and 44 per cent in the urban areas.

“These percentages are very low and this is something we ought to have achieved 100 per cent coverage judging by the resources available to the country.

Maternal Mortality

On Maternal Mortality HIV infections, he said the  rates were still high, as ge emphasised the need to do more for people to have access to preventive medication.

” Thiese gaps  can be bridge if we do the needful,’’ he said.

Tunji Akintade

For  Dr Tunji Akintade, a General Physician,  he called for utilisation of taxes for health insurance financing to drive the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

World Health Organisation

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), UHC means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

Akintade noted that Nigeria’s inability to achieve UHC was impeded by its reliance on premium to drive health insurance financing, noting that premium in a depressed economy would not achieve much.

He said that out-of-pocket spending which constituted 70 to 80 per cent of spending for health services was no longer sustainable as it inflicted undue financial pressure on citizens.

“No country in the world has achieved UHC using premium, it’s done using taxes.

This is a major reason we’ve not been able to achieve the UHC that we’ve been clamouring for.

Ghana is around 35 to 40 per cent, Norway is around 80 to 90 per cent, while in Nigeria, we are around five per cent,’’ he said.

Association of Nigeria Private Medical Practitioners

Akintade, a former Chairman, Association of Nigeria Private Medical Practitioners (ANPMP), appealed to the three levels of government to widen the nation’s tax net to capture more businesses, especially those in the informal sector.

According to him, doing this will ensure a robust and effective health insurance to save lives and reduce morbidity.

He added that steps should also be made to ensure effective regulation to prevent corruption from hindering access to the fund.

Federal Government

Akintade lauded the Federal Government for the establishment of a Vulnerable Group Fund to ensure health insurance coverage of 83 million poor Nigerians who could not afford to pay premiums.

National Health Insurance Authority

He noted that such initiatives through the National Health Insurance Authority should be enhanced to impact more citizens.

NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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