The dearth of data and research is a threat to the country ambition in putting its 190 million populations under the universal health coverage and lose out of advanced medical technologies and cost effective health care.
Nigeria’s huge infrastructural gap in the sector has remains a major hindrance limiting the growth and development of medical research and technology in the country.
Experts say the need for improved healthcare system in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised, saying in strengthen the healthcare system, collection of data and researches are bench mark for growth in Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Data and research plays a major role in all sectors and there is a need for the health sector in Nigeria to tap into it for easier health indices, tracking disease prevalence, measure mortality and morbidity, tackle challenges of public health emergencies and to enhance county’s preparedness and response to epidemics through prevention, detection and control among others.
“Information technology and communication (ICT) will help Nigeria’s healthcare system reduce the challenges of limited data and information collected which demography, financial and medical history will be analysed. We need a robust ICT and it is very essential we get it right in this country” Jide Idris, commissioner of health, Lagos state said.
Nigeria was poorly ranked in the first global healthcare access report.
“Nigeria has already adopted a task shifting policy it is no news that we struggled over the years with high burden diseases, the country must invest in collection of date so as to implement feasibility,” Isaac Adewole the minister of health said recently.
“Unfortunately, there is paucity of data to inform our interventions. We must invest in collection of data to inform decision making and implement feasible and evidence-based control programmes for these NCDs at the country and regional levels,” Adewole added.
Babatunde Salako director-general of Nigerian institute of medical research said, “If we do not fund research in Nigeria, we cannot expect innovations and significant development, that is what other advanced countries has done, they invest a lot in research and ask questions”
“But what we do in Nigeria is that we use the information that comes from them, our environment is not the same, genetic makeup is not the same and so it might not be correct always to infer from the results of their own research and domesticate it for us in Nigeria
“Each country needs to fund research for scientist or researchers to conduct research using their own population because of peculiarities. Until we realise this, our health sector will not improve,” Salako further said.