From Abujah Racheal
Nigeria is unlikely to meet the UN and World Health Organization recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients, said Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Employment.
Ngige said this at the two-day quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum on Friday in Abuja.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reported that the theme of the two-day forum was “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”.
The meeting was primarily convened to discuss how the health system can be strengthened at the sub-national level with the overarching goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC).
The minister said: “We are not a United Nations country, we are a developing country. So when such numbers are given I will tell them that every rule has an exception. We are not there yet ”.
“So we’ll get along with what we have. And when they said it, he said yes. Surplus doctors. We have surpluses, I keep telling them that we have not used our medical workforce appropriately and appropriately, as we should. ”
“How many doctors do we have in the rural areas and in the suburbs since they are all in the townships, with data from a medical and dental association showing 4,000 doctors every year. It used to be 3000, before the private universities came, many of them don’t do medicine, including Afe Babalola and others. ”
“We’re about 4,000 plus now, the people who have even been trained abroad are coming back from Russia and Ukraine, and the rest of them all are registering them with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
“Almost everyone has come to Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt to stay. And we have 10,000 primary care centers that are unoccupied at the last count. “
Professor Akin Abayomi, Health Commissioner for Lagos State, urged state governors to create a conducive environment for doctors in their states.
Abayomi said more than 20,000 Nigerian-born doctors outside the country are doing very well.
“Therefore, our governors should create a conducive environment for our doctors. Nigeria should no longer talk about brain drain, but rather about bringing our doctors back into the country, ”he emphasized.
Speaking of how the state responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that Lagos State was using the experience it had in 2015 when responding to the Ebola outbreak.
“This experience has helped us effectively control the spread of the virus in the state despite our huge population.
“We had a solid collection of data to support our policy choices. we built a system from data Collection, analysis and interpretation a long the Lines every pillar of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
We then invested in technology to automate our data collection system through the information and implementation from the Lagos State Emergency Call System (LASERS), which allowed us to get real-time data for our response.
However, the health commissioner advised not to use the public service to structure or manage a pandemic, but to develop a quick policy to raise funds for effective pandemic management, otherwise the whole system would collapse.
Abayomi announced that, in the event of an emergency, Lagos was ready to beat an impending deadlier fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics in the state, adding that the state had learned from the first three waves.
Meanwhile, the director general of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the commissioners that States should play a vital role in strengthening the country’s health security.
Ihekweazu, directed by Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Director, Special Duties, NCDC, added that the state has responsibility for the health of its populations, including preparing for and responding to disease outbreaks.
“States have the resources, expertise and experience to step up responses to the coronavirus pandemic and other disease outbreaks in the country.
“We need stronger political commitment, leadership and funding to fight outbreaks,” he added.
Dr. Onoriode Ezire, Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, said the conditions for involving a state in a World Bank project included; “A joint agreement between the Treasury Department and the Executive Governors on a set of transparent selection criteria.
“Countries are only included in a project if the participation of the state would contribute to a meaningful improvement of this development indicator.
“Proven commitment by this state to reform and demonstration of continued commitment throughout the life of a project.
“These include; meetings Minimum performance criteria, the passing of state laws necessary to create an environment conducive to reform and the creation of the appropriate institutional framework to implement a reform program, ”he said.
Ezire pointed out that when designing multi-state operations, special attention would be paid to the conditions for mutual accountability between the federal and state governments.
He praised the “Federal Government for creating a conducive environment and level playing field for the states and” States for having achieved the results to which they are committed by participating in the project, ”he said.
In their remarks, Cross River Health Commissioner Dr. Betta Edu, spoke on behalf of the Commissioners said the meeting was critical to foster sharing of experience, interstate collaboration, learning and encouragement the sub-national development towards building a resilient health system in the country.
NAN recalled that the meeting focused on health issues such as the Fund for Primary Health Care; Strengthening primary health care; Combating HIV / AIDS and its multisectoral consequences; UHC, health insurance, as well as various high-impact interventions that are carried out either directly or with development partners.
The meeting also identified challenges and outlined the implementation of partnership support at the sub-national level and formulated measures to address and adopt them.