Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The German Government has reached an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health to offer financial and technical assistance to improve the Nigerian healthcare delivery system.
Germany’s Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, stated that both countries discussed on how to partner in several areas, including health, vocational training and agriculture.
The minister stated that already, five Nigerian hospitals are to be given technical support to have a ‘train-the-trainer’ concept and cooperation between the hospitals.
Spahn, who spoke to journalists shortly after a breakfast meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and other top government officials from Germany, said there are already many areas where Germany and Nigeria have cooperation, adding that this would be deepened.
Spahn said: “We really do appreciate the strong partnership between our two countries and the cooperation that we have in many areas.
“We discussed the eradication of polio where we do cooperate and we want to reach out worldwide. That is something countries need to engage in, and we are making financial contributions to help get it done.”
According to him, there are already five hospitals in Nigeria that are supported by the German ministry of health under the initiative of ‘train-the-trainer’ concept whereby the hospitals have cooperation among them.
In the area of assistance in eradication of diseases, Spahn said: “We hope to promote this to make it very practical in fighting diseases, especially infectious ones, through our centres for disease control, German Robert Core institute, and the National Centre for Disease Control.
“Funding in the area of polio is around 30 million euros. However, there is a new agreement to be concluded between Germany and Nigeria in areas of health, general vocational training, and agriculture.”
On his part, Ehanire said the Federal Government of Nigeria is set to sign a new agreement with the German Government, which will see a facelift in the vibrancy and the quality of health care delivery in the country.
He said Nigeria would seek the support of Germany in areas of patient transportation, e-health, and mobile-health to enhanc the health system and service delivery in Nigeria.
“We are in talks with the German Government in areas of public health, technical cooperation, and improvement of the health system where we need their expertise and experience to be able to progress in our own health system and Nigerian economy in general,” the minister said.
Ehanire also said the German Government would also provide financial support in many areas, not only in health but in agriculture and education, particularly in vocational education “where we need to improve the small and medium enterprises sector as well as reduce the migration wave going on between Africa and Europe.”
Regarding the worrisome issue of brain drain, Ehanire explained that it was unfortunate because it takes a lot of money for the government to train these doctors and nurses.
He said: “When we lose them, it is like losing money to Europe and America. We are trying to reverse that by offering more opportunities here. The lack of opportunities is a driving factor, and also the fact that there is much higher remuneration in Europe and America than here.
“We also need some kind of reverse compensation. That is why we have requested that Germany send to us experts, particularly in surgery, oncology, and so on, who are going to volunteer in Nigeria to help strengthen service delivery in the health sector.”