Nigeria’s Health Sector Needs Re-engineering and Political Will —Health Management Consultant

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The National Programme Manager, Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS), Mr. Mike Egboh, has called for the re-engineering of Nigeria’s Health Sector in Nigeria’s Health Sectororder to adequately tackle maternal mortality.

He stressed that the challenges facing the sector were not that of manpower and remuneration of medical workers but that of ineffective and poor infrastructure.

“There is frustration because the system is not functioning effectively. It is a function of infrastructure which is not being developed fast. It is painful for a doctor to know he can save a malaria patient and yet he watches the patient die because he does not have the necessary tools.

Egboh further said that a focal path to success in re-engineering is the prioritising of the health sector by Nigerian politicians.

“We have not made health a political issue. We don’t hear issues of health in political campaigns. No politician has ever mentioned that when he comes into office, women and children will have access to healthcare.

“They run into health problems and they die but they have not learnt from it.

“You must build hospitals where they are needed. Most structures are put in places where they are not used to their full capacity,” he emphasised.

He pointed out that most hospitals were built without proper consideration of the statistics from communities.

“We must look at the regional realities and respond to them. We must look at statistics coming from communities and use that to plan.

“Until we start to use information to plan, we will continue to make mistakes,” Mr. Egboh said

He called for a multiple approach in tackling maternal mortality. “We do not lack technology. We do not lack people who can bring about change but we lack the attitude to bring about change.

“We need to look at the attitude of health workers and politicians,” he stressed and also called for proper management of funds budgeted for health to ensure that the purpose was achieved.

Despite the setbacks in the sector, several success stories have been recorded in the northern part of the country through the PATHS project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development and implemented by Abt Associates

The National Programme Manager stated that Gigawa was the only state allocating about 15 per cent of its budget to healthcare delivery.

This development, he noted, had yielded positive results in the state.

Other states where the initiatives of the organisation have recorded positive results through community participation are Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano.

The PATHS seeks to improve maternal and child health and strengthen Nigeria’s health system by increasing access to efficient, effective, and quality health services through investments in health workers, health facilities, and communities.

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