That the wrecking COVID-19, which has given that the beginning of the year spread quickly around the world could leave a very serious public health crisis in its wake is no longer news.
Like other establishing nations, Nigeria now, more than ever previously, needs to seriously face the obstacle of developing a modern-day health services shipment system that guarantees effective, fast and available options capable of curtailing deaths associated with common diseases and their terrible effect on households, communities and development.
Apart from the frightening death and morbidity information on malaria, absence of access to practical health services shipment system has actually also been accountable for avoidable havoc triggered by many other common but potentially fatal diseases, such as STDs, diarrhea, hypertension, and diabetes on a big section of the 52%of the nation’s population that live in the rural areas.
To compound the circumstance, the nation’s backwoods mostly lack good and functional facilities while unavailability of competent healthcare personnel, combined with high levels of poverty and illiteracy continue to make public health an overwhelming job in the nation
In spite of the nation’s strategic position in Africa, it is highly underserved in the healthcare delivery sphere.
Health resources such as centers, workers, and medical devices are inadequate, particularly in rural areas.
Newest information from a survey of Africa’s 10 largest economies reveal that only Ethiopia has fewer medical facility beds per capita than Nigeria.
The most current WHO information puts the number of healthcare facility beds at only 5 per 10,000 individuals in Nigeria.
Beyond healthcare facility beds, nevertheless, public healthcare delivery is hampered more by inadequacy of health care resources particularly workers, drugs and other medical devices needed for holistic client treatment.
For example, the doctor to client ratio is presently 1: 6000.
Most of the offered qualified medical professionals are concentrated in urban cities and towns while the rural areas have next to nothing, consequently leaving room for quacks and other unqualified hands to tend citizens’ health requirements.
This poor picture makes the health care system especially delicate and constantly at major threat of being overwhelmed at the breakout or in the after-effects of any pandemic with serious presence in the nation.
Yet, as an important aspect of national security, the need for public health is non-negotiable.
Public health not just functions to offer sufficient and prompt healthcare however likewise tracks, displays and controls disease outbreak.
The Nigerian health care environment has suffered several transmittable illness outbreaks year after year.
Hence, there is need to tackle the issue decisively now in order to prevent a repeat of the disorderly national reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To even more underline the truth that the Nigerian health care system is improperly developed, specialists have frequently observed that there are no noticeable and well kept adequate and practical monitoring systems in the sector.
A successful contemporary healthcare shipment model needs routine security and medical intelligence as the backbone of the health sector.
This is because medical intelligence and surveillance represent a really beneficial element in the healthcare system and control of disease break out.
Provision of timely information focused on combating possible health menace among many other things is a crucial function of public health.
Hence, insufficient tracking methods in the public health sector can cause huge health insecurity, and consequently endanger national development, peace and security.
There is therefore an increasing role of automated-based medical intelligence and surveillance systems to match the standard manual pattern of document retrieval in advanced medical settings as seen in western and European countries.
Offered the above prognosis, the main obstacle facing the country’s public health today might therefore be framed as how to produce and sustain an information-rich and patient-focused health care system that reliably provides top quality care.
Knowing from experience is essential, both for efficient emergency response and to reconstruct for the future.
Past experiences have revealed that in the wake of health pandemics, the government has actually frequently been discovered to have actually diverted statutory health budget plans and resources to take on the instant difficulty of the pandemic.
This often leaves the health care services delivery sector more vulnerable, weaker and more overwhelmed, especially in the efforts to include common citizen health requirements.
For example, in the after-effects of the Ebola crisis, many individuals died since of the failure of the overwhelmed health systems to deal with malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis than from Ebola itself.
A similar trend can just be prevented in the aftermath of this fight versus COVID-19 if efforts are geared towards putting in place a proactive, innovative and easily cost effective and accessible health services shipment design that can ride on strong implementation of technology to reinforce healthcare accessibility at the grassroots.
Nigeria requires to urgently create an ingenious technique to developing various layers of health services delivery model that can deliver reliable and effective medical services to the most vulnerable in the society, to accomplish the best health results, such that area and socio-economic status will not be a barrier to accessing quality health care services.
This requires to also be done as cheaply as possible, provided the dwindling economic fortunes of the nation.
In this regard, the country requires to look towards the innovative and innovative neighborhood health center concept, which is capable of leveraging technology to offer holistic option to the determined spaces in the existing healthcare shipment systems, especially in the underserved locations, as a way of increasing the scarce personnels for health (HRH).
The very best of these community health center concepts is grounded on the tele-healthcare model and not the anachronistic traditional community health care facility design.
The growing popularity, spread, reach and energy worth of mobile telephony and other digital devices ought to challenge health administrators and service providers to consider of package in creating services that can provide efficient health services to the majority of Nigerians, particularly in the lower socio-economic cadre.
The present pandemic has actually demonstrated the main value of health in our nationwide life– without it, we have nothing.
It has also shown how we can do things differently as regards to making our public healthcare system really patient-focused.
We need to not anticipate the world to stand still for us to move at a pedestrian pace when everybody else is running to make their systems better.
Christopher Samuel is the Job Coordinator for Telehealth Nigeria Effort (TENI) based in FCT, Abuja.