By Oluwatope Lawanson / Florence Onuegbu
Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has announced plans to enroll as many as three million residents in the state health insurance scheme over the next year.
LASHMA Director General Dr Emmanuella Zamba said this on Wednesday during a press briefing to announce the “Ilera Eko” grassroots awareness and registration campaign in local state councils.
Zamba said the awareness and enrollment campaign has become important because the state government understands that health is wealth.
She said that so far, 527,000 residents have been enrolled in the insurance plan and the state hopes to enroll more residents with its "pay small, small" plan, which allows for monthly payment.
According to her, 222 health facilities have been recruited to take care of the registrants.
Office of Civic Engagement Special Advisor Princess Aderemi Adebowale said health around the world remained on the government's priority list at all levels and Lagos could not afford to be an exception.
Adebowale said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu's administration strives to ensure that all residents of the state have access to quality, equitable and affordable health care.
She said it was regardless of their socio-cultural and economic status, towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in the state.
According to her, this forced the government to embark on the construction and renewal of health facilities across the state.
"It has also necessitated the continued launch and promotion of various intervention programs that include Lagos State Health Insurance Schemes, also known as ILERA EKO," she said.
Adebowale said that LASHMA, in collaboration with the Civic Engagement Office, has started vigorous grassroots outreach on the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme (Ilera Eko) in the 20 local government areas of the state.
The special adviser said the aim was to promote the Ilera Eko health plan, as well as increase the enrollment of Lagos residents in the program.
Indeed, our experience with the pandemic has opened our eyes to the fact that a majority of Kenyans are only ill from a financial crisis.NAIROBI, Kenya, September 24, 2021 / APO Group / -
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe encourages multi-stakeholder and intersectoral partnerships to help catalyze investments and innovations in the health sector in the wake of the corona virus pandemic.
Speaking at the 17th Intergovernmental Health Sector Consultative Forum on Thursday, held virtually, the SC said that innovative health financing that involves the blending or blending of two or more sources to fund a program or one activity has proven to be successful around the world.
“We are now forced to develop new flexibilities and expand mandates to meet the needs of a pandemic. This means that changes in certain health policies that have been evolving for several years as well as the development of new ones will have to be accelerated. To do this will require a paradigm shift in our approach to solving health problems in our country. »Observed the CS.
According to the SC, the most important lesson the country has learned from the pandemic is the need to articulate what matters most and to prioritize investments.
“Indeed, our experience with the pandemic has opened our eyes to the fact that a majority of Kenyans are just one sick of a financial crisis. Now that we are increasingly aware of the unpredictable nature of the disease, it is essential that we accelerate the implementation of UHC to ensure that our people are protected from financial hardship due to medical conditions, ”said the CS.
The Health SC said the national government has prioritized universal health coverage with an emphasis on results financing to ensure sustainable financing.
"Health coverage has become the main objective of the government, being one of the four main items of the agenda, we must guarantee access to essential services necessary for health and well-being through a set explicit essential benefits for beneficiaries of the CSU scheme, ”Kagwe said.
Bringing together the two levels of government to deliberate and find solutions to critical issues affecting the health sector, according to Kagwe, will ensure all Kenyans have access to the highest standard of health as envisioned in the Constitution.
The cabinet secretary praised the counties' efforts in tackling the corona virus pandemic, saying the health ministry will continue to work closely with decentralized units and partners to mitigate the spread of the disease.
By Abujah Racheal
Dr Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, has said that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was not achievable in any country without public finance.
Okunola stated this on Day Two of the Fourth Annual Legislative Summit on Health themed: ”Universal Health Coverage and Health Security: Two sides of a coin for an efficient health system”, on Monday, in Abuja.
The summit, holding from May 23 to 25, 2021, was convened by the National Assembly with support from partners.
Okunola noted that the National Assembly was responsible for the appropriation of public finance, and without the legislatures UHC cannot be achieved in the country.
He called on Nigeria to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritize the issues around public health financing and institutional structures.
“I saw a draft Bill for Bayelsa State Center for Disease Control is very commendable.
“We must set up institutional structures to combat pandemics. COVID-19 will not be the last, we need to prevent future epidemic in Nigeria,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombos, also noted that COVID-19 had revealed the fractures in the health system and had provided an opportunity for countries to take charge and build functional health infrastructure systems.
Dr. Njide Ndili, Country Director, PharmAccess Nigeria, added that without government commitment to funding, achieving UHC by 2030 would be impossible.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, has stated that the purpose of the summit was to review the state of Nigeria’s health system in the light of emerging pandemics like the COVID-19, and to strengthen the nation’s health security.
Oloriegbe, who noted that UHC and Health Security were interrelated, said: “We have to ensure that all health needs of people are met with sufficient quality without leading to financial hardship”.
NAN recalls that the overall objective of setting up the Legislative Network on Health was to effectively leverage statutory functions of the Legislature in Nigeria for improved health financing, through effective and efficient utilization of the resources for UHC.
The Summit has been identified as one of the tools used by the legislators to collectively strategise on how to achieve these objectives. Every year, since the first Summit was convened in July 2017 (except 2020 because of COVID-19), Legislators had gathered with this singular purpose in mind.
It seeks to discuss, analyse health situations in the country, make decisions and take a stand on the way forward to solve whatever challenges each State may face, within their respective contexts.
What ensures success and nationwide reach is the fact that the discussions include all states of the federation, and the summit clearly identifies the role every stakeholder needs to play and leverages these to achieve identified objectives.
A major output of these meetings is a strategic framework called the Legislative Health Agenda, an actionable work-plan developed by each State to address existing challenges in respective health sectors by applying their statutory functions of Legislatures, that include Appropriation, Oversight and Representation.(NAN)
Amref Health Africa has established an independent commission to review the continent’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets by 2030.
The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) Commission on the State of UHC in Africa will, in addition to reviewing the continent’s progress, provide recommendations on leadership, accountability, technology/innovation and health security, to help guide the continent towards achieving UHC targets.
The independent body will deliver its mandate through 11 commissioners selected from a range of disciplines and sectors across Africa; global experts and thought leaders who will provide valuable guidance, engage with key stakeholders and collate data to provide an accurate overview of African nations’ collective advancement towards UHC. The commissioners will also spotlight pressing challenges faced by different countries and work closely with governments, policy shapers and implementation teams to navigate them effectively for the delivery of health services to all.
The AHAIC Commission’s immediate focus will be the production of a State of UHC in Africa Report. The report will provide a detailed account of steps taken by African governments to achieve UHC in their countries, reflecting on successes, barriers and lessons learned on the journey towards providing equitable access, quality health care and financial protection as envisioned within an African context. The findings of the report will be delivered at the fourth edition of the Amref-sponsored AHAIC Conference, which will be held from 8th to 10th March 2021.
‘‘The commissioners have a big task ahead of them. With only three months to the AHAIC Conference, they will be working with a multi-stakeholder team and employing various research methodologies to develop and deliver a comprehensive report that will inform subsequent UHC discussions in Africa. The report will serve as a reliable roadmap and reference point on progress made so far, as viewed through an African lens,’’ said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO, Amref Health Africa and Co-Chair, UHC 2030 Steering Committee.
Commenting on the selection criteria, Dr. Gitahi noted: ‘‘The selection committee has assembled a youth- and gender-inclusive commission that reflects the rich diversity of the continent and brings together experienced, versatile, well respected global health experts from across Africa.’’
The AHAIC 2019 resolution to achieve health targets through increasing access to health services; improving the effective delivery of quality health services; establishing mechanisms to guarantee adequate and sustainable public-led financing, and strengthening people-led accountability to safeguard transparency and efficiency at all levels.
African countries’ commitment to the attainment of UHC must be followed by action, reflection, and more action. Progress will fundamentally hinge on genuine and sustained political action. This commission intends to help us all reflect on Africa’s UHC progress, successes and challenges, and articulate areas of action to accelerate progress,’’ noted Prof. Edwine Barasa, one of the Co-Chairs of the Commission.
The Commissioners include:
For the commissioners’ full biographies, please click here (https://bit.ly/33NmmMM).
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has urged politicians, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to key into the newly inaugurated Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
He made the call at the inauguration of GIFSHIP on Thursday in Abuja, adding that the programme would give citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from the health insurance scheme.
According to him, GIFSHIP is a product of the lessons learnt and the experience gained from a previous programme, the Vital Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme (VCSHIP).
“This new programme addresses the challenges and barriers encountered during implementation of the VCSHIP, both by beneficiaries and operators.
“GIFSHIP eliminates known difficulties as it creates additional values by expanding and upgrading VCSHIP for better and increased reach, quality services and user experience.’’
The minister, therefore, urged politicians, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to register their families, communities, clans and members of their constituencies to enjoy the fantastic healthcare option.
“They should use the opportunity to provide quality healthcare for their loved ones and relations, thereby giving them financial access to comprehensive healthcare at the point of need.
“The larger the pool of enrolees, the stronger the insurance base,” he said.
According to him, the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund will be dedicated to the poor and vulnerable as captured in the social register.
He noted that the data, financial and claims management would be assured, with secured electronic platform set up in collaboration with NIGCOMSAT and approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“It will issue each enrolee a personal e-card that allows him or her to access medical treatment anywhere in the country, while fully assuring privacy and data protection”, the minister said, and urged stakeholders to be advocates of GIFSHIP and spread the word that Federal Ministry of Health now has an omnibus enrolment platform.
“You should spread the word that the ministry has an enrolment platform within NHIS to back up healthcare cover for Nigerians, especially those not currently captured under any form of health insurance in the country.”
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, said GIFSHIP was introduced to enable individuals, families and groups to join the NHIS ecosystem.
He said some of the appealing features of the programme were the inbuilt mechanisms to guard against moral hazard, adverse selection, as well as allowing room for organisations to contribute toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UCH).
He added that “it will also allow political office holders, donor agencies, multinational corporations, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to contribute their quota toward the attainment UCH.
“The GIFSHIP will leverage on the overarching e-NHIS framework which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade but recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to be deployed in few months to come.”
The executive secretary said the programme was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Health Sector Next Level Agenda for the attainment of UHC through mandatory health insurance.
Sambo said the programme was inaugurated as the key to unlocking the human capital of the nation for uplifting the socio-economic status of Nigerians.
“This is also in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, Target number 8 and with this vision, the NHIS is undergoing massive reform through the Three Point Rebranding Agenda.
“The Three Point Rebranding Agenda is anchored on restoring a value system that will transform NHIS into a credible result-driven organisation.
“It will also engender transparency and accountability in the entire operations and accelerate the drive toward achieving universal access to quality healthcare for Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Dr Eke Jonathan, the General Manager, Formal Sector Department of NHIS, said GIFSHIP was an innovative programme for other Nigerians not under the formal sector.
He explained that “over the years, the problem had been the inability to get the informal sector people to join NHIS.
“So, what we have now provided a platform for all Nigerians to enjoy the same benefit that those that are under the formal sector are enjoying.
“It is in line with expanding UHC because if you talk about social health insurance, it will only be employment-based so we are trying to expand to those who are not employed to join.’’
According to him, an enrollee as an individual will pay N45,000, but the cost allows him or her to add two extra persons, making three for the N45,000.
“If you are enrolling as a family with between four and nine people, you will pay N15,000 times the nine persons, totalling N135,000.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, says the senate has passed a bill that will make health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.
Oloriegbe disclosed this at the inauguration of Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) on Thursday in Abuja.
“We have passed it in the Senate. Two Committees on health from Senate and the House of Representatives worked on the bill, so the bill is before the House of Representatives just for concurrence.
“Also, the National Assembly has passed the National Health Insurance Authority Act. It will not be National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) again, it will be National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) . A scheme in NHI(S) means only one scheme. That is what has been happening.
“The NHIA will be authority that will cover all schemes and everything will be brought together. The most important aspect of it is to make health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians,’’ he said.
The chairman said the e-NHIS framework had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and would soon be deployed.
He explained that the National Assembly had been supporting NHIS by appropriating the needed funds for its implementation.
“Without funds for it, it cannot work, when we considered the NHIS 2020 budget, we fully made provision for achievement of the e-NHIS; N1.5 billion was provided for that,’’ he said.
In addition, Oloriegbe said the senate had been working with the Federal Ministry of Health to improve health coverage by giving the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) effective implementation.
“We have reviewed the manual for BHCPF in collaboration with stakeholders to make the fund more beneficial to Nigerians.
“Also, the inauguration of GIFSHIP is important to us. What we are doing today is very critical to the attainment of the objectives of GIFSHIP because we represent people.
“What we will be doing as representatives of health sector in the national assembly is to advocate and ensure that all our colleagues register their constituencies, support and pay for their constituencies.
“We will start, all of us in leadership of five health committees in the national assembly will register our constituencies,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr Niyi Oginni, the Chairman, Forum of CEOs, State Health Insurance Agencies in Nigeria, said the states had been restructured to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“For many years, Nigeria has struggled to achieve UHC and this necessitated the establishment of state health insurance agencies.
“The agencies have a comprehensive health insurance package including GIFSHIP,’’ he said.
Oginni said one of the challenges of the scheme was the electronic aspect of it, seeking for collaboration with NHIS to upgrade its operations electronically.
He, however, expressed worry over the news of a state that had announced to cut the salary of its workers by 50 per cent, saying “it will affect contributions to the health scheme.’’
Also speaking, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, President, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN) expressed readiness to partner with NHIS to achieve the objectives of the GIFSHIP.
Arigbabuwo, commended the NHIS for introducing landmark programmes, especially health insurance under one roof.
“We will continue to do our best to provide services for Nigerians to access health facilities,’’ he said.
Similarly, Dr Leke Osunniyi, Chairman of Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) commended NHIS on the inauguration of GIFSHIP, saying “we are happy that our suggestions were captured in the programme.
“We are optimistic that the programme will contribute to the growth of health insurance in the country,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that highlight of the event was the formal inauguration of GIFSHIP and symbolic registration by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko
The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, has inaugurated the State Contributory Healthcare Scheme ( KECHES), in a move to bo0st access to affordable healthcare services by vulnerable people in the state.
Bagudu, who officially kicked off the scheme in Birnin Kebbi on Saturday, said the initiative by the state government was aimed at ensuring that the people were healthier and productive through the provision of quality primary healthcare services.
“The Contributory Healthcare Scheme is a great milestone and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that it thrives successfully”, the governor said, adding that the scheme provides ample opportunities for the communities across the state to collaborate with the state and local governments in running primary healthcare centres.
He explained that such collaboration would enable the efficient running of the PHCs and the possibility that over 80 per cent of diseases could be dealt with at the PHC level with only the rest 20 percent of diseases requiring referrals.
“All these will be done without over burdening the families and what more can be better and happier than this?”, he asked.
He pledged to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the scheme functions effectively, especially by ensuring sustainable training of all the personnel to handle the scheme, provision of the needed facilities and sensitization, while commending the invaluable contributions of all the stakeholders, development partners, traditional and religious leaders, to the scheme.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Jafar Muhammad, said that the state had been taking the appropriate steps towards ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The scheme is a strategy at ensuring sustainable funding for health, and to defray out of pocket expenditure (OOPE) for health care, hence the domestication of the State Social Health Insurance Scheme (SSHIS) in line with our culture and religious beliefs.
” It is also established to ensure that residents of the state, irrespective of tribal, religious or social affiliation, enjoyed unfettered access to qualitative and affordable health care without the risk of financial hardship linked to paying for care,” he said.
Muhammad said that the vulnerable groups, pregnant women, children under five years and orphans as well as the elderly would be cared for from the pool of funds generated from others and from government subsidy in the form of equity funds as provided for in the law.
The commissioner assured the people of the state that the scheme would be people-centred, urging them to own the scheme and participate fully in order to ensure successful outcomes.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the scheme’s management agency, KECHEMA, Dr. Jafar Augie, commended Gov. Bagudu for his visionary leadership and foresight both of which, he said, would help in achieving UHC in the state.
“The organized labour, CSOs, State Council of Ulama, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the association of private medical practitioners were all important in proactively shaping the contributory healthcare scheme. They remain important stakeholders whose support is practically indispensable for the agency, ” he said.
The secretary also commended the Wife of Gov. Bagudu, Dr Zainab Shinkafi- Bagudu, for her advocacy and being a true ambassador of KECHEMA.
Giving an overview of the Scheme, the Permanent Secretary state Ministry of Health, Alhaji Ibrahim Maigandi, told the gathering that the Agency came into being in line with the National Healthcare policy on the provision of accessible quality health care as the foundation for socio-economic development.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Kebbi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Abubakar kaoje, welcomed the establishment of KECHEMA, describing the action as an important achievement and blessing to Kebbi as it would enable more communities access quality healthcare without facing any financial problems.
He disclosed that all primary healthcare centres in the State were now functional as 112 health centres have been renovated and upgraded statewide.
Alhaji Attahiru Gwandu, the State Coordinator of the National Health Insurance Scheme, ( NHIS), in his speech at the occasion, described the introduction of KECHES by the government as a huge step forward in reducing expenses incurred on health services by the people. .
Edited By: Mouktar Adamu
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said that collaboration and partnerships with international and local individuals and organisations were crucial to the realisation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
A statement by Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, said that Mamora spoke on Thursday in Abuja when he received a team of Marie Stopes International Organisation in Nigeria (MSION).
He was responding to the submissions of the Country Director of MSION, Effiom N. Effiom, whose team requested for partnership with the health ministry to meet its “MSI2030 Goals”.
The statement said that the MSION team included Dr Kingsley Odogwu, its Director of Clinical Services, and Mrs. Yemisi Omekeh, MSION’s Director of Procurement and Logistics.
Mamora told his visitors that there was need to have collaboration and partnership to support UHC goals.
He, however, said that it was also necessary to look at the availability, accessibility and affordability of the services MSION was concerned with.
The minister said that students, workers and many other groups cutting across cultural divides of the Nigerian demographics were among people who seek the services of MSION.
He suggested that improvement on the existing partnership between the health ministry and the organisation should be viewed from a point of “enlightened self-interest.”
Further supporting his claim of a need to collaborate and partner with MSION in what it does for the segments of the Nigerian population, Mamora said, “even when right to life is guaranteed in our constitution, it should be by choice and not by accident”.
Effiom, Country Director of MSION, had earlier disclosed that his organisation was collaborating with government at all levels to strengthen healthcare delivery.
“We offer comprehensive services that enable women all over Nigeria to choose their reproductive health future through various service delivery channels. We tailor our services to ensure that no one is left behind.
“We try to ensure safe abortion and Post-Abortion Care Services (PACs) and help women to access contraception.
“With the support of partners, the company delivers high-quality contraception and PAC to women and girls wherever they live,” he said.
Effiom further disclosed that his organisation was seeking partnership with the FMOH.
He said that MSION in 2019 ensured that 1.9 million unintended pregnancies were averted.
“Within the same period, 840,000 unsafe abortions were averted through the 1.05 million safe abortion and post-abortion services provided, while 3.7 million women accessed contraceptives provided for Nigerians.”
He revealed that 11,000 maternal deaths were averted, stating that 23 per cent of MSION’s client-visits were to people under the ages of 20, with 120,000 adolescents reached each year.
NAN reports that the “MSI2030 Goals” are wrapped around a vision of ensuring and helping Nigerian women to “have children by choice and not by chance” and that “every birth is wanted.”
By this, a target of 120 million women and girls will be served with high quality Safe Reproductive Health (SRH) services.
It is expected that this will guarantee that 80 per cent will be those with the greatest need, with one out of four women having their demand for contraception met by Marie Stopes International (MSI) or MSI-Supported Service.
It will also significantly reduce unsafe abortion through having MSI support one in three.
The Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has called for the improved and continuous partnership between the private sector and the government towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Ehanire made this call during a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) and 30th anniversary of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), Lagos Chapter, on Saturday.
The theme was ‘Post COVID Era: Economics and Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria’ challenges the abysmal state of the healthcare and impact of the pandemic on the economy.
The minister said the private sector constitute about 80 per cent and they are vital contributors to the country’s health and development.
On the adverse effect of COVID-19 and the EndSARS protest, Ehanire noted that Lagos State suffered more from the adverse effects of COVID-19 and the EndSARS protest.
“Lagos has suffered more from COVID-19 and its aftermath as well as the adverse effect of the EndSARS protest. Just when things were about to pick up the EndSARS protest further affected the state.”
He, however, stressed the need to improve the nation’s health system in line with globally acceptable practice, and called for the modernisation of the nation’s health care system.
Ehanire said the financial services of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be explored to improve the nation’s health system.
He also lauded the guild’s efforts in changing the narratives of the health system.
The Minister of State, Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora said the appearance of a new disease, and its progression to the declaration of global pandemic status was challenging for healthcare providers.
“The advent of the pandemic has brought with it apprehension, concern for a nation with weak healthcare infrastructure, personal concern and concern for friends, and finally concern for the economic impact on a nation.
” The private sector and private individuals in enlightened self interest, seeing as travelling abroad for treatment was not an option, stepped in.
” They funded and built emergency isolation centres, hurriedly acquired ventilators and personal protective equipment for short term emergency use,” he said.
Mamora said the reality seems to be that the impact of the pandemic on Nigeria may have been more economic than direct public health thus far.
The Pioneer Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr Fola Adeola, said COVID-19 or not, the country needs more infectious disease treatment capabilities.
“We cannot take our eyes off Lassa fever, cholera, and the other diseases that were with us before COVID-19 came along, because they have not gone away.
” We need to train and adequately incentivise our health workers, and we need to bring a level of health awareness to our population,” he said.
Adeola, however, called for judicious application of the limited resources to making whole the abandoned or incomplete facilities located in high-density areas where it would be utilized, COVID-19 or not.
He stressed the need to continue to upgrade the knowledge of hospital staff, and teach them to recognize disease presentation.
“We can inject funding into the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries and start to produce more frequently used drugs/items locally.
The President of the Guild, Prof. Femi Babalola, said the year had been extremely challenging for all Nigerians, and especially for those in the private practice.
“We have also had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and all. We all find ourselves in the frontline of health care, daily exposing ourselves to the possibility of infection while attending to our patients.
” And in spite of these dangers, we have soldiered on with very little support from outside our own efforts.
” Indeed, we have lost some of our members to the COVID-19 crises,” he said.
Babalola estimated that about 2,500 health workers had been infected with the disease out of a total of 60,000 infections nationwide.
He said the GMD was involved in the Frontline health-workers Foundation of Nigeria (FHWFN), and the National Emergencies Medical Services and Ambulance System (NEMSAS).
Babalola said FHWFN was set up to include all the major medical and paramedical associations in Nigeria including Doctors, Nurses, pharmacists and Lab technicians, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The essence of the foundation is the welfare of frontline health workers, particularly in pandemic situations.
” It has given a platform for interaction between the major players in the health industry in Nigeria,” he said.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide
The FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) has called for the adoption of the Electronic Health Records (e-health) to ease the digitalisation of health records, especially among Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities.
The Acting Secretary, HHSS, Dr Muhammad Kawu, made the call on Monday in Abuja during a validation meeting of the ‘End Term Assessment of Electronic Health Records and Telemedicine Diagnostic Device Proof of Concept Projects’.
The pilot project of the device, which recorded no fewer than 9,950 clinic visits, was conducted at the Kuchigoro PHC facility, a satellite town along airport road in the FCT.
Kawu said that the adoption would ease the digitilisation of all business processes and service points, adding that building and integrating a mobile version would ease patientss’ access to clinical consultations when needed.
“Over the period of pilot implementation, the telemedicine diagnostic device platform was deployed in Kuchigoro PHC located in a densely populated suburb of Abuja.
“It seamlessly linked to remote specialists in the family medicine department of Wuse District Hospital (WDH), its linked referral facility.
“Today, nearly one year after, we gather here not only to evaluate the pilot project, but also to recommend ways of improving its performance.
“We are also looking at increasing its adoption and mobilising funding to scale up and expand the device to other facilities across the six area councils of the FCT in line with the goals of UHC,” he said.
Kawu called for the training of health workers on basic computer appreciation skills, as well as continuous training and retraining of workers in order to be abreast of global trends and practice.
The Deputy Director, E- Health, HHSS, Dr Inibong Ekong, in a remark, said that the project at Kuchigoro had significantly increased access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), adding that it should be optimised and scaled up to other facilities.
He noted that the usage of the device had also increased clinic attendance by 8.4 per cent, with over 25 per cent of visiting patients’ resident outside the catchment area of the facility.
“It has saved cost of printing paper-based files and folders, equivalent to 75 per cent of records captured on the platform over six months.
“It has also eliminated cost and time of travelling to access specialist care in the city hospital by 33 per cent of patients through the teleconsultation with the remote specialists at WDH,” he said.
Ekong said that the project, which seeks to test and demonstrate the achievement of UHC through integration of ICT and telemedicine into health system, is a collaboration between the FCT HHSS and the Federal Ministry of Health.
He, however, said that in spite of records of achievements, the project experienced some challenges and limitations largely due to the scope of the pilot focus, and low ICT capacity of health workers.
He listed the challenges to include slow speed on the computer, resistance to change, coexisting manual paper-based processes, poor internet connectivity and inadequate bandwidth for teleconsultation, and shortage of personnel.
“These limitations adversely affected patients’ waiting time; the good thing, however, is that it did not cause patient dissatisfaction.
“Most of these identified challenges are transient and will be adequately mitigated with maturity of the implementation as well as through evidence-based monitoring and evaluation feedbacks and supportive supervision,” he said.
Dr Modupe Adeyinka, Director, Primary Health Care (PHC), in AMAC, commended the initiative of the project and the collaborative partners for their efforts to digitalise the primary health care system in the FCT.
Adeyinka said that the PHC in AMAC had benefited from the initiative, adding that it had boosted effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.
She called for the extension of the project to other PHCs in the other local governments of the FCT.
“E- Health is a way forward, especially at the grassroots level. We are grateful for this programme and hope for more,” she said.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ephraims Sheyin