The function of a healthcare system is to regulate the maintenance, provision and improvements of adequate and timely medical care to humans in a nation. It is done via providing primary care, secondary care, tertiary care and public health to the people.
The Nigerian healthcare system has made progress in some areas in the last few decades. But they are still some nagging issues concerning healthcare in Nigeria that needs to be addressed. What are some facts about healthcare in Nigeria? What are the problems with the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria? and most importantly What are the practical ways to improve healthcare in Nigeria.
This article will answer all these questions in a concise and comprehendible way, so please read on.
Facts about healthcare in Nigeria
• Healthcare in Nigeria is run by the three tiers of government. The federal government is responsible for the tertiary healthcare, which involves coordinating the affairs of the university teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres. While the state government manages secondary healthcare, which involves managing general hospitals. And lastly the local government is responsible for primary healthcare, which are regulated by the federal government through the National Primary Health Care Developing Agency (NPHCDA).
• The first healthcare facility in Ngeria is a dispensary opened in 1880 by the Church Missionary Society in Obosi.
• Between 1945-1955 the first Colonial Development plan for healthcare in Nigeria was introduced. The health system was regionalized.
• Between 1962-1968 the First National Development Plan for healthcare was introduced in Nigeria by the government, with emphasis on the need for expansion of healthcare to rural areas. Subsequently a second, third and fourth were later launched.
• In May 1999, the government created the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the scheme encompasses government employees, covers children under five, permanently disabled persons and prison inmates.
• In 2006, A new national health policy was adopted. The plan includes a re- designed National health insurance scheme with focus on reducing cost of treatment and adequately financing healthcare providers.
• In 2016, a report stated that life expectancy in Nigeria was estimated at 63.4 years.
• The Nigerian government allocates approximately 15% of it's annual budget on healthcare.
• There are presently 37,000 medical doctors to take care of approximately 180 million Nigerians.
There have been positive achievements made by the Nigerian healthcare system, some of which include:
• In 2012, a new bone marrow donor program was launched in Nigeria, the second in Africa. This program will help people find bone marrow donor easily and reduce diseases like leukemia and lymphoma.
• The NHIS has benefitted citizens by providing preventive and maternity care, as well as providing inpatient care (up to 15 days per her in standard ward).
• Effectively combating epidemic outbreaks, like Ebola.
• In 2013, more than 79 million Nigerians between the ages of one to 29 years were innoculated with the MenaAfricVacine ( a meningitis vaccine) across 26 states