Health Care Federation of Nigeria

pharmaccess wikipediaThe Health Innovation Challenge's key theme this year was to create an active Nigerian health innovation market place, aimed at improving healthcare delivery through innovation, at the end of the challenge they had narrowed down to about 15 innovative ideas. According to the Commonwealth Health statistics, health is an issue in Nigeria to the point where in the country’s public spending on health was two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, equivalent to 80 dollars per capita. “I think healthcare is largely ignored in Nigeria, you find that even for the most basic things people have to travel,” said Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank and Chairman of the Nigeria Health Innovation Market Place. He explains how the situation is so dire that Malaria for example is a greater killer than HIV/AIDS in the West African country, “It basically takes out about 300 thousand lives in this country, perhaps even a lot more”.

Nigeria seeks to innovate health sector. At the recently concluded 2015 Health Innovation Challenge in Lagos, the key theme was creating an active Nigerian health innovation market place, aimed at improving health care delivery through Innovation. The idea that Nigerians are now using medical tourism as a way to access healthcare concerns Wigwe and is something he finds as “embarrassing”, Hence the decision to create a private sector led initiative. “Where we start looking for innovative ways to help resolve some of the health challenges we face in our country, so that we can resolve them internally without spending a lot more money on international travels, international medical facilities, and developing these economies,” said Wigwe.

Diarrhoea child patient 300x225United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) has declared that about 194,000 children under the age of 5 die annually in Nigeria due to diarrhoea. The UNICEF Chief Field Officer for Katsina State, Ms Padmovatahe Yelda stated this while presenting five Hilux vehicles for the implementation of Sanitation, Hygiene and Water In Nigeria (SHAWN) project in Katsina State. Ms Yelda said diarrhoea was responsible for the death of 1.3 million children every year, across the globe adding that UNICEF was determined to address the challenge. She said the decision to implement the SHAWN programme was aimed at providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation so as to reduce water borne diseases. According to Yvelda, UNICEF has sunk 888 hand pumps and 129 motorised boreholes in communities across 11 participating local government areas of Katsina State under the SHAWN programme.

She added that the SHAWN project has provided 33,000 household latrine to attain open defecation free status in 1,467 communities in Katsina State. She however appealed for prompt payment of N142 million and N179 million counterpart funding of Katsina State government and the 11participating council areas respectively just as she stressed the need for systematic monitoring and supervision to ensure dutiful implementation of the programme. In an address, the Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari lauded development partners for supporting in provision of water and clean environment assuring that the state would support all efforts at improving lives of the people. Governor Masari, however, made case for a flexible mode of paying the counterpart funding stating that fulfilling the counterpart funding agreement signed may not be possible due to dwindling revenue accruing to the state.

On the eve of the change of government, the All Progressives Congress (APC), through its Policy, Research & Strategy Directorate headed by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, organised a policy dialogue chaired by the Vice-President elect Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and featuring Lord Mandelson, a key player in the UK New Labour government under Tony Blair as the Keynote Speaker, and a last minute substitute for Tony Blair. The choice of Mandelson over Blair was just as well, as it made it easier to focus on the message much more than the man.

It never ceases to surprise me how little attention we pay to the words of people we have, of our own volition, invited to counsel us. It reminds me of a recent wedding reception I chaired. While delivering the traditional admonition to the newlywed couple, I glanced at them and was bemused that they were so lost in themselves that they could not have heard a word of what I said. The audience was much worse! I could have been one of Nigeria’s many "ghost workers" for all they cared. They were lost in the chatter and merriment of the moment.

I draw an interesting parallel between Lord Mandelson's admonition to the newly elected government-in-waiting and mine to the newly wedded couple. His first theme was about the need for the new government to be true to the words of their campaign; mine to the couple was for them to be impeccable with their words.

kwaraadvocacyThe HFN, in line with its cardinal goals of a better private healthcare sector, currently participated in the Kwara State Health Insurance Research and Advocacy Day in the ancient capital, Ilorin. The objective is to gather experts from the private sector, academia, government, non-government organizations and donors as well as local communities to discuss and research the lessons learned from the Kwara State Health Insurance Program and the implications for delivery of quality healthcare in Nigeria.

The Kwara State Health Insurance is a public-private partnership between the Government of Kwara State, Hygeia HMO, Health Insurance Fund, and the PharmAccess. As a result, the UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon has described it as groundbreaking and innovative. In 2014, the initiative was recognized by the OECD Development Assistance Committee for Taking Development Innovation to Scale. One unique feature of the Program is its research component to continuously measure its impact, the cost-effectiveness of maternal health care and other important attributes of the program. This has resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.

World Health Organisation, UNIVERSAL HEALTH(WHO) ranked Nigeria 197th out of 200 nations. In the same year, life life expectancy was put at 48 years for males and 50 years for females; while Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) for both sexes was put at 42 years. In HALE estimation, Nigeria only ranked higher than five countries; Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. In 2013, the report by WHO puts male/female life expectancy at 54/55. 
The WHO report states that Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent of global maternal mortality figure, with 59,000 women dying annually from pregnancy and child birth. For every maternal death, 30 others suffer long term disabilities while 40 per cent (about 800,000) of global obstetric fistulas occur in Nigeria the report further reports. 

The frightening report also states that the health situation in the country has been so deplorable because only 39 per cent of births are delivered by skilled health professionals. It also states that the risk of a woman dying from child birth is 1 in 18 in Nigeria compared to 1 in 61 for all developing countries and 1 in 800 in developed countries, adding that only 23 per cent of children (12- 23months) receive full course of immunisation against childhood killer diseases.

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