3 Things Killing Nigeria’s Health Sector - JOHESU Official
It is not news that Nigeria's health service is poor.
The strike of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) is a pointer to this fact.
For over one month, the union has downed tools and this industrial action embarked upon to coerce the government into meeting their demands is already taking its toll on the already traumatised sector.
On Tuesday Nigeria marked its Democracy Day and it was the third year of the President Muhammad Buhari administration.
The President had in the past three years travelled to the United Kingdom for treatment for two times. He returned from a trip he took just to see his doctor few weeks ago.
'Not Rocket Science'
Sometimes it appears the situation has no remedy, but an official of JOHESU, who presides over the unions activities in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Mr Olusegun Sotiloye, said addressing Nigeria's health sector issues "is not rocket science".
"Every averagely intelligent person will know that our health sector is nothing to write home about.
"In the last rating that was done, we scored third from behind.
"No right-thinking person will say that our healthcare system is the way it should be.
"It is a hydra-headed problem, but there are some general things that if put in place will take us in the right direction," he said.
The Chairman of JOHESU in UCH listed three major reforms needed in the sector to ensure Nigeria ranks high among countries with top notch health system.
1. Increase Funding Of The Health Sector
Funds have always been allocated to the health sector in Nigeria, but the population of the country has consistently ensured that the funds were never enough for the health sector.
The amount allocated is always far below what it should cater for the over 190 million population.
Mr Sotiloye highlighted that corruption often swallows the little money going into the sector.
"The little funding that is going into the health sector, corruption is eating up a sizeable chunk of whatever is allocated to the health sector.
"This is very unfortunate going that we have a govt that came in on a mantra of fighting corruption," he stated.
His claims could be seen in what transpired some months ago between the wife of President Buhari and the management of the Aso Rock clinic.
Huge funds have been allocated for procurement of facilities and drugs for the clinic, but she was shocked to find that even drugs were not available.
3. Complete Overhaul Of Health Ministry
The official of JOHESU also stressed the need for an overhaul at the Ministry of Health.
He wants a change to a system where the persons heading the ministry come from one healthcare profession.
"The era of having health being in the care of only one healthcare profession is no more.
"Countries with better healthcare system are rated far better than ours, you have professional administrators.
"The current WHO [World Health Organisation] head is not a medical practitioner. He is a biologist who went into public health, but you never had such take place in Nigeria.
"The government should make it a level playing ground for every qualified individual to rise to whichever peak or career they want to get to," he emphasised.
Mr Sotiloye believes that Nigeria could achieve a reliable healthcare system that will end medical tourism, but one way to begin is to institute the right reforms.
"We will not get there in one day but we should be taking step towards that will ensure we get where we want to get to," he added.