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Medical experts urge Nigerian govt. to do more for health sector

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A professor  of medicine, Shima Gyoh, has said that it is necessary that the new government appoint a health minister who can delegate duties to achieve great success in the health sector.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES at The Future of Health conference on Thursday, Mr.  Gyoh, also the president of the Society for Family Health, said the health industry is pertinent to be allowed to degenerate.

He said, “Well if you are thinking of the Minister of Health, who would be in charge of the entire health sector, then the person should be good at delegation. Of course, not one person can do everything, so we need someone who is good at delegation, and set up organs that can carry out tasks beyond the life of one person.”

He said it is expected that good ideas emanating from the conference would expand on the directions the Nigerian government should take towards improving the health service delivery in Nigeria and “what attention should health get from the government”.

Mr. Gyoh called for better regulation, monitoring and inspection in the health sector, its facilities and activates.

He said, “We ought to have better regulation and inspection. We don’t inspect, we don’t supervise, we need to supervise and also get the supervision properly.”

The conference themed, “Defining the Health Sector of Our Dreams in Nigeria” and powered by Nigeria Health Watch, a not-for-profit organization offering communication and advocacy expertise in the health sector, saw professionals from different areas of the health industry discussing challenges facing the system.

The professionals discussed possible solutions towards achieving better health service delivery in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Ondo State, Dayo Adeyanju, highlighted the feats made by the state in health service delivery and said the state through various stated owned programs reduced maternal mortality from 317 per 100, 000 live births in 2012 to 187 per 100, 000 live births in 2014.

Mr. Adeyanju said, “For our poor health indices to improve, greater investments must be made in primary healthcare.”

He said the primary healthcare system must be strengthened in such a way that they (the primary healthcare facilities) can provide quality health care services to Nigerians.

He said Nigeria’s health system is too focused on tertiary healthcare, neglecting the primary healthcare – thus rendering it weak for the reason it was established.

In his contribution, a former Commissioner of Health in Ogun State, Ola Soyinka, said the primary healthcare system in Nigeria should be community based.

He called for strong political will from policy makers for a purpose driven health industry in Nigeria.

“Lack of health coverage in Nigeria is predominantly a political problem and not a grass root problem; God saves politicians from the blame that they deserve in failing their promises on health,” Mr. Soyinka said.

He said the fact that Nigeria is still struggling to provide basic healthcare is inexcusable.

“We need to demand for the right to health in Nigeria,” he said.

The former Minister of Health for state, Muhammad Pate, encouraged accountability in the health sector. He said, “Accountability must be at the front centre of our healthcare in Nigeria… Ask questions, make information open and accessible, and hold people accountable.

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