by Isi Esene
- Thistle Praxis points way forward for Nigeria’s public health sector
- We need knowledge to improve Nigerian health care sector – Thistle Praxis
The third edition of Thistle Praxis Sustainable Conversation series held on Saturday November 10, 2012 at the Radisson Blu Anchorage hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos. The conversation revolved around the theme “Public Health: Tackling Challenges for Effective Service Delivery.”
Making a case for the imperative of this initiative, Thistle Praxis through its lead consultant/CEO, Ini Onuk, emphasized that “Nigeria is currently rated poorly in many health statistics. Maternal and child mortality remain among the highest in the world. Nigeria alone is said to account for 10% of maternal deaths worldwide. Diarrheal diseases, Malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases continue to threaten lives and reduce productivity.”
Acknowledging previous and ongoing attempts to ameliorate the situation such as the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), Thistle Praxis noted that achieving an acceptable level of success requires 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.”
The background presentation was made by Dr. Ike Anya of Nigerian Health Watch who spoke on “Improving the health of Nigerians: Opportunities and challenges.”
In his presentation Dr. Anya said Nigeria is not doing well health wise and before backing up his claims with statistics showing life expectancy in Nigeria at 47 years, high infant mortality and very high road accident rate.
He noted, however, that even in Nigeria some parts are doing better than others while stressing that economic growth does not translate directly to improvements in health care delivery.
In terms of opportunities Dr. Anya identified the fledgling Health Insurance scheme as an area of opportunity while noting that change agents are needed to help improve the health system.
The discussion panel was moderated by Dr. Akudo Ikemba, CEO of Friends Africa and discussants included Dr. Muhammed Ali Pâté, minister of State, Federal Ministry of Health; Mrs. Fola Laoye of Hygeia; Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos State commissioner for Health; Dr. Osahon Enabulele of the Nigerian Medical Association; Dr. Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of DFID, and Mrs. Angela Oyo-Ita, Cross River State commissioner for Health.
Dr. Muhammed Ali Pate noted in his opening remarks that there have been gains in some areas like polio eradication but he pointed out the there is serious inequity health wise in Nigeria noting that “those with money have better health care while the poor have very poor health care.” He attributed this to inefficient allocation of resources.
Thistle Praxis has promised that a white paper will be produced from submissions by the panel of discussants and submitted to relevant organisations, agencies and stakeholder groups.
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