Past Covid-19: Creating Nigeria’s healthcare system

THE present COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and shaken the well being techniques worldwide. Nations that apparently had superior and complex well being techniques have struggled to cope with this pandemic. Present morbidity and mortality figures present that the Excessive Revenue Nations (HIC) have been hit probably the most by this pandemic, with some nationwide demise rely within the tens of 1000’s, particularly among the many aged, frail and people with co-morbid circumstances. Nigeria has additionally reported a excessive variety of instances particularly within the metropolitan areas however nowhere close to the figures coming from many developed societies. A number of causes have been postulated for the comparatively decrease numbers in Nigeria together with local weather and demographic components. It’s pertinent to state that our understanding of this pandemic continues to be evolving. There have been earlier epidemics up to now in Nigeria, together with epidemics of Ebola, Lassa fever and different viral ailments however not a lot have been learnt and alternatives for enormous rejig of the system have been missed. The present pandemic creates one other alternative for leaders and coverage makers in Nigeria to critically appraise the healthcare system, perceive its weaknesses and proffer long-term options.

Nigeria is a blessed nation and has all of the substances to grow to be an awesome nation, if effectively crystalized. From the angle of a doctor educated in Nigeria however working in a developed nation on the frontline, I feel there are classes Nigeria can be taught from this pandemic. First, no well being system anyplace is foolproof. The ‘wealthy’ and ‘developed’ nations have struggled to cope with this pandemic. All well being techniques require steady re-evaluation and strategization for higher preparedness and repair supply. Second, Nigeria has the flexibility to cope with her native points. No nation is problem-free. Each nation promotes the very best of itself. We have to do a greater job in info administration, communication and messaging. Third, we can’t copy the healthcare insurance policies of different nations hook, line, and sinker. We have to adapt elementary healthcare rules to native realities and peculiarities for maximal influence. As an example, is whole lockdown the very best public well being response for a small low-resourced Nigerian village throughout a pandemic when there are not any instances domestically?

Fourth, Nigeria can’t proceed to rely upon different nations for important and far wanted assets to cope with native points. No charitable group or nation can bear native obligations for the healthcare of an area populace. Why do we’d like foreigners to remind us of the significance of vaccinating our kids, preventing and eradicating TB, HIV, Malaria and so on? We can’t proceed to rely upon ‘support’ that’s usually not forthcoming or dependable when different nations need to cope with their very own issues concurrently. We have to advance analysis in ‘African medication’ and consolidate our understanding of our native pharmacognosy, discover and maximize our native well being assets in a scientifically sound method to unravel native issues and well being wants.

Fifth, well being techniques are inclined to give attention to major and secondary healthcare networks together with hospital care, neglecting the important public well being in lots of instances. Apparently, lively and responsive public well being techniques are the binding forces that preserve the opposite techniques from being overwhelmed so simply.

Sixth, we have to construct well-coordinated and inter-twined major and secondary healthcare techniques with common entry for all residents. This ought to be strongly bonded with a publicly funded public well being system targeted on well being training, promotion and surveillance. We should be scientific and future wanting in constructing our well being establishments as a result of it’s inextricably linked to our safety and security as a individuals. It ought to be effectively regulated and managed to the very best of requirements to serve the general public. Seventh, paying for healthcare is an enormous problem worldwide. A blended cost system may go finest in Nigeria, led by native authorities and states as an alternative of the federal authorities. Common entry to primary care ought to be the start line and this may be up scaled progressively. Extra providers may very well be accessible by social insurance coverage, co-operative unions or work-based entry for these in an organized work pressure. Each area and state ought to determine on what works finest for her. Nobody measurement suits all. We should cut back the necessity for cost on the level of entry to healthcare. No healthcare system can thrive with out-of-pocket cost system, as it’s in most of Nigeria.

Eight, Nigeria ought to reap the benefits of her Diaspora assets particularly within the well being care sector. Nigeria has 1000’s of profitable healthcare employees overseas they usually may very well be as profitable at residence if the circumstances are proper. We have to create alternatives for the Diaspora to be solidly concerned domestically. They’re tremendous desirous to contribute to their residence establishments and provides again to the nation that gave them their primary medical coaching at nearly no price. On the identical time, we have to perceive that the unmitigated lack of locally-trained professionals to international nations is a disaster and critical emergency that must be addressed by the right channel and insurance policies. Acceptable steps ought to be taken to encourage native healthcare professionals and graduates to practise satisfactorily at residence. There isn’t a place like residence!

Ninth, we have to up our sport within the well being sector by making prime quality care accessible to all Nigerians. I imagine this may solely be achieved by increasing the flexibility of native non-public healthcare leaders to supply providers to a bigger inhabitants, together with the flexibility to coach new medical doctors each on the undergraduate and postgraduate ranges. The federal government must develop insurance policies that can result in the event of massive non-public well being establishments that may compete with their public counterpart and supply providers reasonably priced to most people.

There are too many small solo non-public medical practices and most of them will not be viable, dependable, sustainable or reliable for longitudinal affected person care. We additionally have to develop requirements of take care of varied medical circumstances, re-engineer and empower the regulatory our bodies and maintain our leaders accountable to offering equal and accessible healthcare for all Nigerians.

Tenth, we should flatten the curve of corruption. The high-income nations had been caught unawares by this pandemic. Their pandemic response was weak and wobbly initially however it has advanced into successful story with tens of millions of lives saved. The key to the success of the stay-at-home orders and social-distancing insurance policies was underpinned on the flexibility of the governments to supply financial help and aid on to people and companies. We should proceed to battle that tendency to direct public assets for personal and egocentric aim and divert the commonwealth on the expense of the populace. The impact of starvation is identical in all places and amongst all individuals together with its social penalties. We all know that the disadvantaged behave otherwise from the privileged. Civilization has no genetic or racial bearing. We should battle poverty, help the weak and provides hope to our individuals. We’re higher and safer when the least amongst us has no concern of starvation.Although there may be corruption in each nation, there may be no success within the battle towards starvation and poverty till we flatten the corruption curve.

Eleventh, we have to outline ourselves. We should vehemently reject the fixed strain to be outlined, perceived or represented by the worst of us. We’re always being labeled by different nations as poor, helpless, depressing, corrupt, sickly, lawless and hopeless as if all nations don’t have some embarrassing features of their growth. We must always remedy our issues by ourselves and perceive that we don’t have to impress organizations corresponding to IMF, World Financial institution, and so on. They exist solely as a result of we’ve got not taken the bull by the horns as a nation. The shameful challenges we face as a persons are for in-house nationwide engagement whereas we sort out them. We must always domesticate our nationwide pleasure and refuse to be categorized by outsiders. We must always cease speaking down our nation. We must always advance our magnificence and unity as a nation and confound our naysayers. We should all start to take part actively within the political course of, promote our values and be variety to at least one one other.

Twelveth, believing and loving your self is a real precept of success, not just for people but in addition for nations. Charity begins at residence. Nigerian leaders ought to start to have fun her individuals, domesticate their ingenuity, promote patriotism, accountability, equity and equality and, in no distant future, the Nigerian story can change.Let’s look inward and let’s fan into flame our resilience, braveness and ‘higher angels’. Most Nigerian physicians doing wonders overseas can do the identical at residence if the help and insurance policies are proper. There isn’t a magic overseas! Its only a assortment of individuals which might be working day by day to flatten and preserve their corruption curve flat and are taking lively steps to unravel their native challenges.

There are not any straightforward solutions to healthcare issues and definitely not throughout a pandemic. It’s excessive time for Nigeria to get up and grow to be the large she was meant to be. In accordance with a Chinese language proverb, the journey of a thousand miles begins with step one. Let’s start to take the steps in direction of a self-sufficient Nigerian well being system.


  • Obaseki, MD MPH FWACP CCFP, is a healthcare supplier based mostly in British Columbia, Canada.



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