For several years, Nigeria has consistently spent only about one per cent of its GDP on health, said the Provost of the College of Medicine of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Kehinde Oluwadiya.
Mr. Oluwadiya, a professor of medicine, disclosed this while delivering a lecture titled “Impact of Present Economic Challenges on Health Indices in Nigeria and Medical Practice in Nigeria as a whole” organised by the Association of Resident Doctors of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, LAUTECH, Osogbo chapter.
According to him, governments at the various levels have been spending just over one-third of what should have been spent on the health of citizens.
Statistics showed that the government only spent one per cent of Nigeria’s GDP on health in 2013, a figure he noted has remained unchanged since 1995. There is a difference between GDP and total budget expenditure, the don explained.
“Government is spending an average of $31 but in order for the government to provide just the basic health need of an average Nigerian, they should be spending $86 per person,” he said.
CERVICAL CANCER: IMMUNISE GIRLS BEFORE FIRST SEX
In a bid to stem the rising cases of cervical cancer in Nigeria, Health Education and Empowerment Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, has commenced awareness and screening sessions among women in rural communities in Ogun State.
The Information Centre on Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) says there are 14,089 cervical cancer cases in Nigeria. It also reports that about 8,240 deaths are recorded annually in the country.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of HEDEN, Folasade Ofurume, emphasised the need for early screening once a sign is noticed. She said cervical cancer is preventable by receiving the Human papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine before sex from age 11 above.
She explained that cervical cancer was the commonest genital cancer killing women especially in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that it is the second commonest cancer affecting women in Nigeria. Cervical cancer is fatal if left unrecognized and untreated. It is very important for every woman to undergo regular cervical screening to detect abnormalities. She urged parents to vaccinate both boys and girls because HPV causes other diseases aside cervical cancer
REPORT ADVERSE DRUGS REACTIONS – NAFDAC
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has called on Nigerians to take reports of adverse drugs reactions more seriously.
This advice was given through its acting Director-General, Yetunde Oni, at a media chat on pharmacovigilance and malaria held in Abuja on Tuesday. The advice was against the backdrop of a revelation that Nigerians report only a fraction of cases of adverse drugs reactions they experience.
“Due to the inherent nature of medicines, no medicine, no matter how skilfully produced to meet specified quality standards, properly distributed and stored, rationally prescribed and used is 100 per cent safe.
“However, by continuously monitoring all medicines, it is possible to detect those causing unwanted ADRs, understand why they cause ADRs and prevent them from further causing harm to users.
“This can only be done effectively if healthcare providers detect and report all suspected ADRs and other medicine related problems”, she said.
RURAL DWELLERS’ ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE
Some medical experts in Nigeria are asking the government to empower the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable people at the rural areas have access to affordable medical treatment.
They believe this will help cushion the effect of recession in the health sector. The provost of the college of Medicine in Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Oluwadiya Kehinde, made the request over the weekend while delivering a lecture organized by the Association of Resident doctors, LAUTECH, Osogbo chapter on the “Impact of Present Economic Challenge on Health Indies in Nigeria and Medical Practice in Nigeria as a Whole”
According to him, the economic situation in Nigeria has led to an increase in price of commodities, including drug making it difficult for most people to go for cheaper and mostly counterfeits.
The Vice President of ARD, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Akintunde Olugbenga, stated that “from policy point of view, the government could bring forward events and policy changes that would increase access to health, especially with decreasing patronage of government hospital because of lack of funds by providing universal Health Insurance coverage for more Nigerian.”
LASSA FEVER DEATH
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, called on members of the public to be vigilant over Lassa fever. He also confirmed the death of a health worker from the disease in Ogun State.
Mr. Adewole gave the advice through a press statement by his ministry. He urged Nigerians to be calm and seek care in healthcare facilities if they noticed any symptom of the disease.
“Anybody with symptoms which include fever, headaches, vomiting, should report immediately at the nearest medical facility.
“Healthcare professionals are reminded to test before treating for suspected malaria, and if the test is negative for malaria, to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever. Lassa fever is treatable when detected early.
“Medical personnel are hereby directed to report cases of suspected Lassa fever immediately to the state Epidemiologist, who has been provided with the commodities, by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to respond to cases,” he said.
RESIDENT DOCTORS THREATEN STRIKE
Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to address the issues of the state of health in the country, as well as the doctors’ welfare or face a total indefinite withdrawal of services.
This was said at press briefing after the meeting of the Nigeria National Executives of the Resident Doctors in Enugu by the National President, Ugochukwu Onyebueze.
They observed that the health of Nigerian citizens is not being given the attention it deserves due to worsening health indices and dilapidated infrastructure in health institutions in the country.
He also decried the undermining of staff welfare in tertiary health institutions, selective and vindictive non-payment of members who agitate for their dues, epileptic pension and remittance deductions and enormous burden of unpaid salaries among other issues.
They also demand that Resident Doctors’ welfare be made a priority.
RESTRUCTURING PRIMARY HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
To make Nigeria’s inefficient primary healthcare system effective, the government plans an overhaul that could lead to some sort of financial autonomy for individual health centres.
The minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, represented by the Director of Public Health at the ministry, Evelyn Ngige, at the 2nd Annual Primary Health care Service Lecture held in Abuja, said the move could lead to primary healthcare centres, PHCs, having full control of how they utilise money they are allocated.
This approach, according to him, “informed the budget process in 2017 and underpins the approach for increasing healthcare services as espoused under the approved guidelines at the basic health care provision function.
“Public health expenditure needs to increase from its current 25 per cent to ensure an equitable delivery of services.
The guest speaker, Obinna Onwujekwe, a professor at the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said primary healthcare in the country has been a total failure.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would love to be remembered in making basic healthcare services qualitative, accessible and affordable to all Nigerians,” he said.