Public health in a country is crucial because it helps to determine many other factors such as national security, economic growth, and development, sustainability, etc. A good public health system provides the needed health care and at the right time to the people, this helps to monitor and control disease outbreak and to also keep economic activities going.
The state of healthcare In Nigeria is saddening. It is a mix of a long list of problems such as a lack of medications. Lack of medical equipment, malnutrition, corruption, poor health infrastructure, fake drugs, and lack of sufficient health personnel. This article highlights the problems facing healthcare management systems in Nigeria.
Problems Facing Healthcare Management in Nigeria
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If you are in doubt of the catastrophic state of the health care system, consider this, an average of 20,000 Nigerians travel to India each year for medical assistance due to the lack of a sound healthcare system in Nigeria, this is not to count the number of Nigerians that troop into other countries. There is also a persistent rate of avoidable death that occur in Nigeria from “preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles and HIV/AIDS, this especially account for more than 70% of the estimated one million death of children under the age of five in Nigeria. Problems of health care management in Nigeria are:
You should not be too surprised that this is one of the menaces destroying the health care system in Nigeria. Corruption is a cankerworm that feeds on every aspect of a country. In fact, healthcare is the third most corrupt branch of the country. Since public funds are embezzled and mismanaged, even funds meant to be used to develop the health care system in Nigeria are diverted into individual pockets. This is why there is a lack of development in the health care system in Nigeria in terms of basic health care facilities and modern equipment. Corruption has also wrecked the National Health Scheme (NHS) which was meant to help citizens to secure better quality health care. Those in management positions in the healthcare system siphon off public funds to private accounts. This has made quality medical care inaccessible for Nigerian citizens.
Poor remuneration of health workers
Government hospitals in Nigeria do not pay adequate salaries to health workers. Many Nigerian health workers do not feel protected and appreciated, this is not good enough for persons who are responsible for the lives of the citizens of a country. The meagre remuneration for health workers is what has caused the massive brain drain currently witnessed yearly, from Nigeria to the US and Europe. Thousands of Nigerian medical personals leave the country in search of greener pastures which leaves Nigeria to battle with the problem of the insufficient workforce. Poor remuneration of workers also gives rise to the perpetual national strikes of health workers. Poor salaries and unhealthy work environments contribute to low motivation and less productivity, for health workers which negatively affects the healthcare system.
Poor education system
Generally, Nigerian suffers from a poor education system that cannot provide adequate practical knowledge to students. Education in Nigeria is largely theoretical, therefore most new graduates face the problem of the practical application of knowledge to solve problems. There is a lack of real experiences for many health workers. So, you will find that many health workers in Nigeria make mistakes, not because they did not learn well but because they are not properly prepared for real-life situations.
The problem of fake drugs in Nigeria has not been curbed. The side effects of fake drugs include drug resistance, treatment failure, poisoning and other diseases that are detrimental to the health of the patients. Fake drugs also include drugs that are produced in unhygienic conditions and may contain dangerous chemicals. The sales of fake drugs continue to thrive in Nigeria because these drug dealers sell their fake drug products at much cheaper prices than the original price of the product. There is a high poverty rate in Nigeria, hence many will prefer cheaper drugs because they do not have money.
Lack of a database
The absence of a common and active data collection system leads to a lack of organization in the Nigerian health care management system. Stakeholders who want to invest in the health system have very little information to work with.
Inadequate supply of medication
Healthcare in Nigeria has struggled long with the problem of inadequate supply of medication. This is another resultant effect of corruption in Nigeria. Many primary healthcare centres across Nigeria do not get at least 20% of their medications every year. Patients are forced to travel around in order to find a doctor with the right medication. The lack of medicines also leads to the death of many Nigerians yearly.
Lack of funding
Government medical facilities experience a lack of financing. In 2020, the allocation of the national budget to health was less than 8% and was further cut down from N44.4bn to N25.5bn which made it just about 4.17% of the total national budget. The situation is much worse in rural areas where basic needs such as electricity, drugs are not provided. The health care system cannot improve if it is not well funded.
Nigerian medical facilities suffer poor hygiene such as old infrastructure, hot climate, lack of toilet facilities, etc. Even outside of the hospitals, many Nigerians live in an unhygienic environment; this includes inaccessibility to clean water, good shelter and good food, all of these increase the poor health condition of Nigerians and in turn puts pressure on an already failing health care system.
Lack of Medical Facilities
The health care systems in rural areas of Nigeria lack the equipment needed to provide good health care to the citizens. Many have to travel to nearby cities for medical help while many in the cities have to travel out of the country to seek medical help. Lack of medical facilities also leads to the overpopulation of available medical facilities. Basic medical equipment in demand includes cars, surgeon rooms, x-ray rooms, etc.
In order to improve the state of the Nigerian health care system, there needs to be a medical system that is well-grounded and funded in addition to adequate management by dependable leaders.