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Thought Leadership on Improving Public Healthcare Service Delivery Beckons

The Honourable Minister for State, Health; Dr. Muhammad Pate will lead discussions at a Thoug0ht Leadership Breakfast Series on Sustainable Development tagged, Sustainable Conversations™. The theme of this event which is the third in its series is tagged: Public Healthcare: Tackling challenges for Effective Service Delivery. Sustainable Conversations™ is a Thought Leadership series shaped to elevate and make mainstream, the discourse on Sustainable Development in Nigeria and Africa. This third in the series is dedicated to Nigeria’s Public Health Sector and seeks to discuss solutions to challenges hampering effective service delivery.

The event will again bring together policy makers, experts and stakeholders in the sector and allied industries with an underlying aim of engaging, understanding, interrogating and supporting the road-map towards achieving sustainable primary health care in Nigeria. The outcomes of this event will be produced as a Resource Paper and forwarded to the Federal Government through the Ministry for Health, all State Ministries for Health and also widely circulated for concerted efforts at achieving the discussed objectives for National development.

Previous editions have addressed National Planning for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Agriculture for National Development with the second organised in partnership with the Etisalat CSR Centre of the Lagos Business School.

Sustainable Conversations TM is facilitated by ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited, a Strategy and Assessments firm and this edition is in partnership with Friends of the Global Fund, Africa and Insight Consulting.

Confirmed discussants include: Mrs. Fola Laoye, Chairman/Group Managing Director, Hygeia Group; Dr. Nnenna Oduwusi, CEO, Insight Consulting Limited; Dr. Jide Idris, Dr. Mrs. Angela Oyo-Ita and Prof. Olusola Fasubaa, Honourable Commissioners for Health in Lagos, Cross River and Ekiti States. Dr. Osahon Enabulele, President, Nigerian Medical Association and Dr. Adesina Fagbenro-Byron, Regional Coordinator DFID will also participate whilst Dr. Akudo Ikemba, CEO, Friends of the Global Fund Africa (Friends Africa), moderates the conversations.

Attendance and participation at Sustainable Conversations™ is strictly by invitation and subject to confirmation.

The importance of a functional health-care system in any economy cannot be over-emphasized as the health of a country’s work-force is a key determinant of overall productivity. As a result, the citizenry of any nation must enjoy a good state of mind – physically and psychologically – in order to contribute positively its development. Consequently, any nation seeking to achieve sustainable development must invest in a proper health-care delivery system. The public health-care delivery system in Nigeria is currently structured on three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary and function through what is known as the referral system. The primary health-care centres are the first point of contact with the community, treating simple health issues. More complex ailments are referred to the secondary, and then to the tertiary level. Conversely, ailments which are treated at the tertiary level are referred back to the secondary and primary level for observation and follow-up.

The structure of the health-care system is designed to synergize health-care delivery in the community; however, Nigeria’s health-care system is faced with numerous challenges, mainly due to the low percentage of budgetary allocation to the sector in comparison and a severe infrastructural deficit in comparison to international standards. Many of Nigeria’s best health-care professionals are practicing in foreign countries, creating a shortage of competent man-power in addition to the administrative challenges which also contribute to the status quo. These challenges have continued to hamper effective health-care delivery in the country.

In an attempt to reverse these trends, the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), was approved by the National Council on Health in March 2010, the Federal Executive Council in November 2010 and formally launched in Dec 2010. The NSHDP is a five-year plan developed through an extensive consultation process at all levels that involved the States, Local Government, Civil Society and Development Partners led by the Federal Ministry for Health. In order for this plan to achieve an acceptable level of success, there is an urgent need for a concerted effort from all stakeholders in the industry, towards providing a knowledge base and support for the NSHDP through robust and frank engagement on the path to sustainable health-care development.

Nigeria is currently rated poorly in many health statistics. Maternal and child mortality remain among the highest in the world. Diarrheal diseases, Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases continue to threaten lives and reduce productivity whilst diseases such as Polio, which have been eradicated in other countries, are still existent albeit in traces. Life expectancy stands at 44 years, lower than the African and developing country average. In addition, it is apparent that Nigeria may be unable to meet the Millennium Development Goals on health before the 2015 deadline.

The world-wide quest for an acceptable baseline standard for health in both developed and developing nations necessitated the incorporation of key health objectives among the Millennium Development Goals. Reducing Child Mortality (Goal 4), Improving Maternal Health (Goal 5), and Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other diseases (Goal 6), are all MDG goals which, if achieved in the short-term, can serve as a springboard towards sustainable national development. However, an objective and critical analysis of the current state of the health sector in Nigeria may compel observers to conclude that Nigeria may be unable to meet the Millennium Development Goals on Health before the 2015 deadline.

For more information, send a mail to: sustainableconvos@thistlepraxisconsulting.com or info@thistlepraxisconsulting.com

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