As documentary shows failures, national response challenges
From Sola Ogundipe
Panellists and other major Nigerians at the premiere of a documentary on managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria in Lagos called for an effective national health insurance system, a strengthened primary health system and sustainable public-private partnerships, PPP and a holistic health sector restructured among others.
The documentary, titled, “Debunked: Leadership, Trust and COVID-19 in Nigeria” was an eye opener to what was going on during the response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Nigeria.
The 95-minute documentary highlights the failures and challenges of the response and essentially serves as a catalyst for a conversation about the shortcomings in the country’s public health sector exposed by the pandemic.
The film is a collaboration between Daria Media and Zuri24 Media, which was shot with support from the MacArthur Foundation and PLAC. The aim is to find solutions to the challenges in the healthcare sector in Nigeria.
The documentary was a rare opportunity to see what the COVID-19 pandemic revealed about the Nigerian response, and to make sure the nation learned lessons and did things right in the future.
The conversation focused on the issues raised in the documentation, particularly the collaboration between the public and private sectors in developing a robust and effective public health system and identifying strategies to bridge the gaps and gaps in response efforts to future health emergencies.
Key themes in the documentary included a lack of political will, poor leadership, a collapsed or collapsed health system, inadequate emergency preparedness, weak health infrastructure, ongoing brain drain, and inadequate hospital equipment.
Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking at the forum, called for a change in the structure of government to contain the unwanted tide, despite saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had started the process of change.
“We have to learn the lessons of COVID-19 in order to galvanize tomorrow.
Change of government structure
“I and my government will certainly not lose the lessons. I know what COVID has brought us up are things that we can use to electroplate and create tomorrow, if we actually take the positive side of it, ”he explained.
“The structure of our governance system is one of the things we should investigate and change, and the change must affect us all.”
Sanwo-Olu, who stressed that difficult decisions need to be made in the change process, urged Nigerians to prepare as other pandemics were in sight.
“It’s not just about a medical pandemic. It could be a hunger pandemic, a security pandemic, or a government pandemic. Whatever it is, how prepared are we? How high is our resilience?
“People have to come out and vote so they can choose credible leaders. You can’t sit back and be part of the process of choosing your guides. We have to be part of this change that we want. In fact, COVID-19 started it for us, ”he noted.
Central Bank Governor of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, urged the public and private sectors to work together to build healthier and more resilient healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.
Emefiele, represented by the CBN’s acting director of corporate communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, argued that tackling the public health crisis along with the economic downturn required strong coordination.
“In connection with this, we disbursed over N 83.9 billion in loans to pharmaceutical companies and doctors who are supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country.
“We were also able to mobilize key players in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which resulted in the provision of over N 25 billion relief supplies to affected households and the establishment of 39 isolation centers across the country.”
Emefiele said that in addition to food, health spending is an integral part of Nigeria’s average personal spending.
According to him, health care expenses accounted for nearly 76 percent of total health care spending.
“A key factor that has hindered Nigerians’ access to health care is the prevailing cost of health services.
“Indeed, given the challenges our country has faced as a result of the pandemic, it is vital that all stakeholders work to build the capacity of our researchers and institutions to address the challenges in home health care.
“Strengthening collaboration and partnerships between researchers, public and private sector actors across the country is vital to enable Nigeria to build a more robust and proactive health infrastructure system,” he said.
The Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, noted that the NCDC is now better prepared for future epidemics and pandemics.
“When I went to China in 2020, I realized the great challenge we were facing. However, we have responded proactively enough. “
Ihekweazu: “Nigeria is very diverse. Given the diversity of the country, a model of health solution required in one state may not apply in another.
The resurrection of primary health care
A consultant physician and former Ogun State health commissioner, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, called for the revitalization of the primary health system.
“It’s the core of health care. It’s the orphan because it doesn’t belong to anyone. There are three levels of government that contribute to this, namely federal, state and local government (LGA), ”he said.
Evercare Hospital Lekki Limited chairman, Mr Tosin Runsewe, also recommended mandatory health insurance to address the challenges and ensure universal health coverage.
Runsewe, who called for more medical staff to be trained, argued that if the NHIS were compulsory, it would care for half of the Nigerian population, while the social health insurance program would care for the needy and informal workers now for the rest 50 percent of the population care.
The coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu had noted: “Covid will determine the extent of the leadership. In terms of socio-economic impact, the storm has only just begun. “
Vanguard News Nigeria