Nigerian govt must reverse leadership style, improve healthcare – Medical experts - Khorgist.com

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Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Nigerian govt must reverse leadership style, improve healthcare – Medical experts

 

The federal government has been tasked to reverse its leadership style by putting the money where the problem is and building capacity at the local level to improve the nation’s healthcare system.

A medical expert, Dr. Mustapha Gidado who gave the advice said Nigeria’s healthcare system, has remained ineffective because it failed to utilise and invest in the human resources at the local level of care where it is most needed.

He noted that inadequate capacity of health workers at the grassroots, over-centralisation of interventions at the federal level, poor partnerships, lack of political will and weak leadership are some of the challenges bedevilling Nigeria’s healthcare system.

Giving a keynote address at the Prof. Lovett Lawson Memorial Lecture, Dr. Gidado who spoke on the theme ‘Effective Leadership and Partnership to end TB in Nigeria; Sustaining the Legacy,’’ said Nigeria is in crisis with TB as current figures indicate a time bomb waiting to explode.

He attributed the slow progress in efforts to eliminate Tuberculosis in Nigeria to weak leadership especially in skills and in practice.

Dr. Gidado, who heads the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation in the Netherlands, expressed worry that Nigerians perform excellently abroad but are choked by the system as soon as they return home to contribute.

He said, ‘‘There’s capacity and resources at the national level to fight diseases, even TB but it declines as you descend to the state and local levels, which is where the burden of disease is higher. It is counterproductive to find that at the local level there is no power or resources to execute interventions.

‘‘Imagine someone in Taraba State waiting for orders from Abuja to use a machine that has been procured for diagnosis before he can use it. The health workers at the local level need to be empowered to act’’.

Speaking on late Prof Lawson’s legacies as an infectious disease control expert and his contributions to ending TB in Nigeria, Dr. Gidado said late Lawson raised leaders in the fight against TB and it is now their responsibility to build on the foundation he left behind.

‘‘Financial resources on their own cannot end TB but must be complemented by action, using human resources. That initial foundation needed to jump-start action has been laid by the man whom we honour through this memorial lecture today’’, Dr, Gidado said.

In her remarks, Dr Olufunke Lawson, a paediatrician and wife of the late Professor said the work left to be done in Nigeria’s health care system cannot be left for the government alone, expressing hope that her husband’s legacies on TB elimination would continue to impact Nigerians positively.

She, however, advised the federal government to concentrate on building the capacity of available health workers on infectious diseases, so they can contribute their quota to improving the system.

‘‘The work on TB has to be a partnership, there has to be some money kept aside for capacity building, that money will help raise more hands to tackle infectious diseases.

‘‘Government can begin to raise health workers early from the universities, the can be trained, lab scientists, medical students, those who will make these diagnoses must be trained early so they can contribute and continue with research when they eventually graduate’’, she advised.

Also, Dr. Odume Berthran who spoke on behalf of the Stop TB Partnership at the memorial called on stakeholders to sustain Prof Lawson’s legacies and partner with existing platforms to eliminate Tuberculosis.

He said the work of Prof Lawson on TB and his advocacy for improved intervention contributed to bridging the gaps in TB resource mobilisation among partners.

Other medical experts at the memorial lecture re-echoed the need for Nigeria to rethink its strategies to healthcare, be purposeful and invest only where there is a need using the inverted pyramid style of leadership.

To end TB in Nigeria, the experts maintained that the government needs to revisit the roles of those doing the groundwork to empower them more and employ the multi-sectorial approach to solving problems.


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