Nigeria has four doctors available to 10,000 Nigerians -NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has revealed that there are only four doctors available to 10,000 Nigerians.

The figure is a fraction of the minimum number stipulated by the United Nations, which is one doctor to 600 people.

NPHCDA disclosed this on a website created to sensitise the public about its upcoming summit with the theme, ‘Re-imagining Primary Health Care.’

The agency noted that the majority of Nigerians do not have access to quality health services, as only 43 per cent of the population have access to quality PHC services.

“70 percent of disease burden can be prevented and managed at the PHC level. A sustainable transformation of the PHC system is required in order to attain SDGs targets. To achieve UHC targets, public funding for PHC must expand, while reliance on out-of-pocket expenditure must decline.

“Nigeria’s under-resourced system has been spared the worst of COVID-19, but we can’t bet on that next time. This pandemic is a time to re-imagine the way we provide health care in our country.

“Traditionally, public health funding has targeted specific and vertical threats such as malaria or HIV/AIDS. So, we need to think holistically and in a vertical manner.

“We must invest in building up our PHC system so that it can treat infectious diseases as well as address chronic illness, prevention, diagnosis and referral, maternal and child-care, and community wellness. The funding already exists, but we must redirect our focus from curative services to preventative services.

“Investing in health workers, medicines, equipment, facilities and ambulances across the country is the only path to sustainable, resilient health care for the 211 million people of this country,” it stated.

NPHCDA noted that PHC is the most cost-effective way to save millions of lives in the immediate and long-term and prevent an estimated 215,000 avoidable deaths in the country annually.

According to the World Health Organisation, PHC requires governments at all levels to underscore the importance of action beyond the health sector, in order to pursue a whole-of-government approach to health, including health-in-all-policies, which is a strong focus on equity and interventions that encompass the entire life-course.

 

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