How to address Nigeria’s healthcare problems – NSSF

Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), a non-profit organisation helping vulnerable Nigerians, has given recommendations on how to address Nigeria’s healthcare problem.

Nigeria’s healthcare system is said to be in a crisis, as it currently receives only 50 percent returns on investment in the training of healthcare workers, particularly doctors. Data show that only 50 percent of registered doctors are practicing in Nigeria.

One of such recommendations is that the government should commit to implementing agreed policies such as hazard allowance which took eight months to negotiate and “it is yet to be implemented.”

The organisation said the health committee which was inaugurated in January 2022 has not met since then and that the committee should be reactivated to perform the duties it was set up for.

“Government should identify data gaps and research agendas and use the knowledge gathered to understand and address brain drain as well as the risks of the health care system completely breaking down,” NSSF said in a statement made available to BusinessDay.

Other recommendations by the organisation is that the government should work towards increasing patriotism by meeting the basic needs of the average citizen and creating an enabling, conducive environment, as well as regular disbursement of basic healthcare provision funds.

Read also: Nigerian innovation team wins US varsity fund for healthcare solutions

The NSSF on June 28 organised a discussion on brain drain in the health sector titled “Nigerian healthcare system and brain drain- step up or sink”. The discussion was organised as an advocacy strategy with the aim of highlighting current challenges in human capital flight in the Nigerian health sector, and proffering solutions to the same. The discussion was also a rallying call for individuals and organisations to partner with NSSF on strengthening the healthcare system in Nigeria.

The discussion had in attendance, Ngozi Azodoh, director, Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics (DHPRS), Innocent Ujah, immediate past president of Nigerian Medical Association and vice-chancellor, Federal University of Health Science, Otukpo, Benue State, and Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, general manager/ CEO, NSSF.

Ujah highlighted push and pull factors influencing brain drain in the health sector to include poor working conditions stemming from the epileptic power supply, dilapidated hospitals, inter-professional rivalry; security challenges exposing doctors to kidnapping and harassment from patients’ relatives; non-existent training opportunities, delays in payments of salaries lasting as long as 23 months in states such as Abia and Imo.

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