Survey Rates Nigeria Health Care Performance Low

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Peter Uzoho

For Nigerians to enjoy better healthcare delivery, government at all levels have been urged to ensure improved access to facilities at the primary healthcare level by the citizens.

A global leader in the health technology, Royal Philips, made the appeal recently in Lagos during the unveiling of a survey, which indicated that 36 per cent of Nigerians believe that their healthcare needs were being met by the current country’s health system.

However, the survey, noted that tracking health indicators and wide spread information about health, nutrition and fitness, were key factors that would drive effective healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

Submission by over 500 Nigerians interviewed in the survey, indicated “that though 52 per cent Nigerians believe in current healthcare system, only 36 per cent is of the opinion that their healthcare needs are being met.”

The recommendation for improved access to primary health facilities is based on findings that more than half of Nigerians seek treatment for minor ailments from secondary and tertiary hospitals, which is contrary to the principles of the referrer system.

This approach is further reinforced by the fact that majority (65 per cent) of Nigerians believe improved access to health facilities would make them more effective in managing their health, thus alleviating pressure on the healthcare system.

The Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa, Jasper Westerink, who commented on the survey, noted that there is the need for a greater focus on preventive healthcare for a sustainable health system, especially given the prevalence of lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

According to him “the results also reinforce the need for the national government to invest a significant percentage of its healthcare budget towards medical research, preventive care, acute care and general health education.

“This also suggests that more personalised consultations, more first-time right diagnosis, and timely treatments from healthcare professionals (HCPs) will further help reduce the burden on the healthcare industry in the country.”

Westerink noted that, “With these findings as a guiding light, we are engaging with all relevant stakeholders to drive the debate and ultimately improve the quality and cost effectiveness of healthcare services for future generations.

“We believe that sustainable healthcare development requires a system-wide approach, combining technology, capacity-building including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing.”

To that end, we aim to expand access to quality and affordable healthcare across the country and compliment significant efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s growing health sector.