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Improving healthcare delivery system in Nigeria




Sir: Nigeria needs a better health care delivery system. The Federal Government should embark on the building of more specialist hospitals, primary health care centres and teaching hospitals. The state governments should concentrate on building more general hospitals, maternity centres and also specialist hospitals. It is a known fact that we have many towns in Nigeria where there are no available state or federal health institutions. The consequences may be very devastating. Private clinics and hospitals available in these areas may exploit the inhabitants by charging unaffordable and exorbitant prices.

Both state and federal governments should endeavour to employ more qualified medical personnel such as doctors. nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists. In a place where shortage of manpower exists, the output is usually low but on the other hand where management ability is high the output is usually high.

Both state and federal governments should grant incentives to their medical personnel. Doctors, Nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other paramedical staff should be placed on a salary different from the normal civil service salary structure. This is to serve as a morale booster and creating incentives for the medical staff. Since 1988, there has been mass exodus of medical staff to Oil-Rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to look for greener pastures.

In order to stem this catastrophic brain drain, financial incentives should be given to this category of medical staff. Appropriate call duty allowance, hazard, shift duty and inducement allowances should be paid to medical staff precisely in order to forestall incessant strikes as it is presently witnessed in many states of the federation. There should be provision of in-service training for medical staff. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists should be given in-service training in order for them to specialise in their areas of choice in the fields of medicine. This brings about better handling of patients which consequently leads to better care delivery system in Nigeria.

Maintenance culture is lacking in health care institutions in our country. Hospital beds, blood pressure apparatus, ceiling fans, toilet facilities, air-conditioners, vehicles, sterilising machines, generating plants and autoclave machines should adequately be taken care of.

Drugs-revolving loan system should be practised in all health institutions in Nigeria. This is to stem the out of stock syndrome. This is a method whereby each hospital is allocated some amount of money to purchase drugs by themselves, and they are accountable for the sales of these drugs. Funding and encouragement of research programmes by each hospital management for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists should be pursed with vigour.

Odior Iyama, Benin City, Edo State

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