Dr. Jide Idris
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris has said that the role of the private sector in reducing maternal mortality and child morbidity cannot be overemphasised as he stressed the commitment of the state government to provide the needed support to the private sector.
Idris, who disclosed this at the 2013 Private Health Sector Trade Fair held in Lagos recently commended Strengthen Health Outcomes through the Private Sector Project (SHOPS), a project supported by USAID which empahsised the strengthening of the private sector on family planning and reproductive health services.
He said SHOPS commenced activities in Lagos State in 2011 with a mandate to strengthen private sector family planning and reproductive health services, increase family planning counselling options and build the capacity of private provider in the provision of qualitative health services.
SHOPS, according to him, also work to increase access of the private health providers to finance by linking the private health providers with microfinance institutions.
He commended the group for partnering the state government on its on-going maternal and child mortality reduction programme which has family planning services as a component.
Idris specifically commended the group for ensuring provision of clinic-based family planning services that aimed at reducing the family planning unmet need being experienced in the state.
“In doing this, they ensure that men and women who access family planning services in the private health facilities have their contraceptives needs met,” he said.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that there were many challenges facing health service provision in Nigeria, stressing that quality of service is a major one. “The health sector suffers from a dearth of qualified health care personnel and regulation of the existing health institutions remains challenging,’’ he said.
Adelusi-Adeluyi also noted that team spirit within and among the professional health care group is practically non-existent. “If matters continue this way, we will all be losers. To avoid this, we must rethink and regroup now to consider our overall strategies and options,’’ he declared.
According to him, a great number of private and public sector facilities in the country rely on inadequate or outdated equipment and are staffed by personnel with insufficient professional and technical training, while too many of the country’s promising doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals continue to leave Nigeria to apply their knowledge profitably in other countries.
“Consequently, Nigerians are being denied quality health care services, especially those in rural areas. Infant and maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is among the highest in the world with the recent studies estimating that one in 13 women dies from complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. Counterfeit drugs are still far too prevalent reaching as high as 20 per cent of drugs in circulation,’’ he noted.
He, therefore, called on the public sector which he said has a direct mandate to address the nation’s health challenges through the implementation of the Revised National Health Policy, which is yet to be signed by government, to brace up. He stressed that implementation of health and other policies are still weak in the country.