Brief History of Health Care in Nigeria

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In this post, we take a look at the history of healthcare in Nigeria highlighting important timelines between 1472 and 2016.

History of Healthcare in Nigeria

history of healthcare in nigeria

Year | Type of event

1472 | Portuguese navigators reach Nigerian coast. They bring European medicine, first to satisfy their own need.

1861 | Britain establishes the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

1880 | The first healthcare facility in Nigeria is a dispensary opened by the Church Missionary Society.

1885 | The Sacred Heart Hospital is the first hospital established in Nigeria. It is built by the Roman Catholic Mission.

1886 | Healthcare dispensaries are opened in Onitsha and Ibadan

1893 | Lagos Island General Hospital was established in Marina, Lagos

1945–1955 | The First Colonial Development plan for healthcare in Nigeria was put in place. The health system is regionalized. Most public hospitals provide cost free care for civil servants and their dependents while parallel church-owned hospitals provide care for the needy in this period.

1945 | National Orthopaedic Hospital is established in Shomolu, Lagos

1951 | The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) was established in Abuja

1952 | ECWA Hospital Egbe is founded in Egbe, Kogi State

1952 | The Sir Yahaya Memorial Hospital was founded in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State

1952–1954 | A new policy was implemented which transferred the control of medical services to the Regional governments.

1952 | This was the year the first medical school in Nigeria, University College Hospital, Ibadan was established.

1954 | The overall national policy for Nationwide Health Care Services is stated in the Eastern Nigeria government report on “Policy for Medical and Health Services”. The report states that the aim is to provide national health services for all, emphasizing the need for expansion of healthcare to rural areas.

1956–1962 | It was this period the Second Colonial Development plan for healthcare in Nigeria was launched.

1959 | ECWA Evangel Hospital was founded in Jos, Plateau State

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1960 | Nigeria became an Independent nation.

1962–1968 | It was during this period the First National Development Plan for healthcare was launched in Nigeria by the government.

1965 | The United Nigeria Insurance Company (UNIC) was incorporated as a health maintenance organization (HMO) in Lagos state. The firm provided national medical insurance and international medical insurance cover.

1968 | St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos was founded in Lagos

1970–1975 | The Second National Development Plan for healthcare was launched in Nigeria by the government.

1972 | This was the year the country witnessed the first appearance of epidemic cholera.

1975–1980 | The Third National Development Plan for healthcare was launched during the period by the government.

1981 | Imo State University Teaching Hospital was founded in Owerri, Imo State

1981–1985 | The Fourth National Development Plan for healthcare was launched during this period by the government.

1982 | Eko Hospital was founded in Lagos

1984 | Hygeia international Ltd was established as a Health Insurance Company in Lagos

1986 | Lagoon Hospitals was founded as a healthcare company in Lagos

1987 | The federal government launched the primary health care plan with the following major objectives: Improving collection and monitoring of health data, improving personnel development in the health care, ensuring the provision of essential drug availability, improving on immunization programs, promoting treatment of epidemic diseases, improving food supply and nutrition, improving material, child care, and family planning; and educating people on prevailing health problems and the methods of preventing and controlling them.

1988 | The casual survey in Benin City shows that for every sign-post that indicates a Western-style clinic or office, there are 3 that indicates a traditional doctor in the city.

1990 | Zenith medicare limited was incorporated as a health maintenance organization. It offers health insurance services to individuals, small groups of employers and to large corporate organizations in Nigeria.

1993 | Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta was founded

1997 | Ahmadiyya Hospital, New Bussa was founded in New Bussa, Niger State

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1997 | Premium Health Limited was incorporated as a health maintenance organization in Ibadan, Oyo State. It offers insurance covers to individuals, groups and corporate entities.

1997 | Healthcare International was established as a healthcare provider in Lagos

1997 | Prepaid Medical services limited was incorporated as a health maintenance organization in Abuja. It provided services for individuals, families, groups and corporate organizations.

1998 | Total Health Trust starts operations as a healthcare provider in Lagos

1999 | This was the year Nigeria regain democracy and Olusegun Obasanjo was elected president.

1999–2005 | A new National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act amended the Nigerian health insurance, first incepted in 1962. The new scheme will not become operational until 2005.

1999 | National Hospital, Abuja was founded

2000 | The adoption of Sharia law by several Islamic northern states.

2000 | Mediplan healthcare limited was incorporated as a health maintenance organization providing healthcare services to the public and corporate organizations in Lagos

2001 | Reddington Hospital was founded in Lagos

2001 | The Abuja Declaration took place when the African Union countries meet and pledge to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget on healthcare.

2004 | A report revealed that health insurance coverage was estimated at 0.1% of the total population of Nigeria.

2004–2008 | The country’s 5 year Strategic Plan for healthcare was launched by the government.

2006 | The new national health policy was adopted. The plan included a re-designed National health insurance scheme that protects citizens against high costs of treatment, and a fair financing of health care providers.

2010 | Cholera epidemic breaks out in the north of Nigeria and extends to the rest of the country. 3,000 cases involved and 781 deaths.

2014 | A report revealed that insurance coverage reaches about 5 million people in 2014 (3% of the total Nigerian population).

2016 |  A report puts the life expectancy value in Nigeria is estimated at 53.4 years, being ranked 216th out of 228 political subdivisions


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