By Uche Bibilari
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, says the Federal Government has prioritised investment in health infrastructures in tertiary hospitals.
According to Pate, the aim is to ensure that Nigerians have better quality health care.
Pate said this at the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Committee of Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria (CCMDFTH) on Thursday in Abuja.
The meeting which was hosted by the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada (UATH) has its theme: “Sustaining Quality Tertiary HealthCare Delivery in a Challenging Economy.
“Tertiary institutions healthcare is the corner stone in revamping the Nigerian heath care sector and we have to focus on them as a pillar of our agenda.
“The health sector is getting almost five per cent of the budget. So there is a deliberate effort to increase domestic financing on the part of government.
“Although we are not anywhere near the 15 per cent commitment, but it signals the intent on the part of the President to ensure that the health of Nigerians is improved.
“I assure you that in the six Geo-political Zones there will be significant efforts to improve the infrastructure in the tertiary teaching hospitals.
“I would not say much but you will see that in the details of the budget, that the President is committed to expanding the health infrastructure and equipment for cancer care and diagnosis, ” he said.
The minister also said that the Federal Government was focusing on intervening on substantive investments in phases so as to solve the problems in the hospitals.
He said that hospitals were not supposed to look like dump sites, adding that it was the reason why we lose two billion dollars yearly to outward bound medical tourism.
“That is more than twice the entirety of the health sector budget at different levels. Why? Because folks that are spending outside do not feel they will get what they need inside,” Pate said.
He said that human resources was a very active one, adding that there was the need to prioritise internship, get youths onboard in order to get the best quality human resources.
He said there was also the need to address brain drain with some slight adjustment domestically paying attention to the skills that were needed.
According to him, the realistic solution to discouraging young physicians and health providers from leaving the country is for us to improve the situation at home.
“So that folks will not have to go, but that requires you to administer the human resources and take care of the welfare of your staff.
“Interns should not work 24 hours or 36 hours non stop.
“It is not appropriate they are young physicians so nurture them and harness them so that they can enjoy what they are doing and also learn,” the minister said.
Earlier, the Chairman of CCMDFTH, Prof. Emem Bassey said that the tertiary hospitals were faced with so many challenges ranging from finance, inadequate budgetary allocation, over head and high cost of equipment among others.
Bassey said that the failure in the primary and secondary health sector had resulted in over burdening of the tertiary hospitals, adding that they were providing primary, secondary and tertiary services all at the same time.
He said that undue political interference in the appointment of CMDs, MDS and recruitment were also one of the challenges facing the tertiary hospitals.
According to him, in spite of all the challenges, the tertiary hospitals have been resilient with remarkable medical excellence and best practices.
“We have documentary evidence of what we have done excellently. This generation of CMDS and MDS are fully committed to raising the bar of tertiary healthcare delivery in the country,” Bassey said.
The Guest Speaker, Prof. Abdulmumini Rafindadi in his lecture: *Sustaining Quality Tertiary Health Care Delivery in a Challenging Economy” , said delivery of quality healthcare in public sector was essential for promoting health and well-being of people in the communities.
Rafindadi said quality healthcare requires a multi faceted approach to ensure access to affordable and effective healthcare services for all individuals regardless of their social economic status.
He said that several keys contribute to successful delivery of quality healthcare in the public sector such as adequate funding and resources, skilled and motivated healthcare professionals among others.
He said that the healthcare sector had so many challenges facing its operations such as; health work force shortage, limited resources, quality of care among others.
He called on CMDS and MDS to introduce significant health information management system in their institutions as this would help to raise the standard of services.
The Chief Medical Director, UATH, Prof. Bissallah Ekele said the meeting was a way of sharing challenges and sorting for solution in order to move the tertiary hospitals forward in health care delivery.
He said the meeting was an avenue where CMDS and MDS review their past activities and also plan what they intend to do in the immediate future. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams