According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria has the highest per capita health expenditures in West Africa.
Nigeria’s out-of-pocket expenditures constituted 74.7% of health expenditures in 2020.
During a retreat for health commissioners from 36 states of Nigeria, the World Health Organization’s representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, expressed regret that an increasing number of Nigerians are falling into destitution as a result of poor health and that many lack access to essential health services.
Mulombo additionally conveyed concern regarding the escalation of non-communicable diseases, a situation he acknowledged is exacerbated by the substantial prevalence of communicable diseases and the recurrence of numerous outbreaks.
“This requires a clear transition in emphasis from abstract notions to practical measures that can be quantified in order to enhance the health sector’s ability to withstand emergencies and recover from them.”
“It is more important than ever that, as health sector leaders in close proximity to the public, you maintain primary healthcare (PHC) as a top priority for your respective governments and ensure that priority investments are made in its development.”
Mulombo urged the commissioners to recognize that their role is distinctive, given the political economy of Nigeria, “in steering your states towards the right direction in accordance with the policies and agenda of the Federal Government, notwithstanding the prevailing challenges arising from the state-specific contexts.”
In a message of goodwill, Ronnak Khan, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Education and Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, stated that for Nigeria to address its numerous health system challenges in an effective and sustainable manner, federal and state levels must collaborate and coordinate effectively.
Khan expressed optimism that the health sector would experience enhancements following the installation of the new government.
“Various health commissioners and the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare have signaled thus far that the new dispensation presents a distinctive opportunity for innovation and efficacy in addressing the myriad challenges confronting the health sector,” he added.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a former chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), urged the Nigerian Dental and Medical Registration Council (NDMRC) to suspend the credentials of novice healthcare practitioners until they have accumulated a minimum of three to five years of service within the nation.
Keynote speaker Fayemi recommended that the NDMRC leverage the National Health Service program to ensure that newly licensed health professionals who have received proper training serve the nation prior to venturing abroad.
"This will allow them to dedicate a specific duration, preferably no less than three to five years."During this time, the Nigerian Dental and Medical Registration Council, which issued your license, will retain it. And once you have completed your work, you are free to choose whether to remain or depart.