Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the outgoing Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan gave numerous facts about Nigeria’s health sector during his ministerial screening. These kept the senators glued to their seat as they all listened with rapt attention to him.
The cerebral professor was splendid during the screening exercise. He is not a green horn as far as the knowledge of the health sector is concerned. His years of experience in obstetrics and gynaecology is well documented while he practised at the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan.
Currently, Nigeria’s health sector is comatose. Ditto, for all other sectors of national economic development.
One or two other ministerial nominees attempted answering questions posed to them by the senators, however none of them was as indepth as Adewole. He stood shoulder high above them.
He gave some mind boggling facts about Nigeria’s health sector.
1. How cancer comes up
Professor Adewole specifically said cancer is a disease that follows demographic transition. This means that a person must have certain characteristics like sex, age, occupation type and socioeconomic status before he comes up with the disease He however stated clearly that cancer is synonymous with old age. Thus, the older a person is, the higher his risk of having cancer.
2. Poor knowledge of Nigerians about cancer
The academic guru stated that a good percentage of Nigerians have little or no knowledge about the types of cancer common in the country. He said cancers which could have been prevented are not, as a result of late presentation or delay in diagnosis of the disease.
3. Public education is the cheapest cure to cancer
The outgoing vice chancellor explained that mass awareness of the general public can help easily detect and prevent cancer. He said 40% of cancers could be prevented and detected if Nigerians are well informed about the disease.
3. Importance of obstetrics and gynaecology
He emphasised the need for funding of maternal and child health. He said infant mortality and death of women during delivery will reduce if there is sufficient funding.
4. Specific health education
Adewole said the citizens need knowledge about specific aspects of health in order to know the type of sickness they suffer from in case they are sick. He said this is the best way to diagnose and give the right drug prescription.
5. Tips to a healthy life style
The Osun state born ministerial nominee advised Nigerians to maintain good personal hygiene in order to reduce communicable and contagious diseases.
6. Harmony in the health sector
He said another headache in Nigeria’s health sector is the absence of cohesion among the different health professionals. “The need for a symbiotic relationship among medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, nurses, radiographers and other health workers will fortify the health sector.” He stated.
7. Citizens are the most important
He corrected the erroneous impression that health workers come first before the patients. He said the citizens are the number one on the rung of the health ladder. He said patients have the right to charge a doctor to court if he does not follow the ethics of his profession during treatment.
8. Causes of abortion
A woman can lose her pregnancy due to various factors. The university don said at least 50% of abortion occurs as a result of spontaneous malformation of the foetus (that is the baby in the woman’s womb)
9. Medical tourism
Nigerians who travel overseas for medical checkup and treatments annually do so because of lack of confidence in Nigerian doctors. He said 1-3 billion dollars is spend yearly on medical tourism.
10. Treatment in Nigeria is cheaper
Adewole said the missing link in the country’s health sector is poor funding and infrastructure. He said getting treatment in Nigeria is far cheaper no matter the nature of the disease. He said standardised and well equipped facilities are the only things needed. This is because Nigeria has capable health professionals in all fields of health.
11. Prevalence of maternal and child mortality
The Ilesha ministerial nominee during the screening informed the upper chamber that the country was moving in the right direction in maternal and child health. He said for at least 10 years now, maternal and infant mortality has reduced by 50%
12. The Nigeria Ebola virus disease (EVD) episode
‘’The simple reasons why the ministry of health managed EVD were just for two reasons,’’ he said. “Good leadership and coordinated approach.” Adewole said these are the two things needed in the health sector to give it a boost.
13. Brain drain of medical professionals
Adewole stated that brain drain of health workers is not peculiar to Nigeria alone. He said the government should focus on brain circulation, which means giving room for professionals from various fields to work in different aspects of health. He said brain drain is as a result of the urge to seek greener pastures. He opined that the solutions to brain drain include improving the working and living conditions of the doctors and also using the “pull and push approach.”
14. Privatisation of the health sector, not a solution
People may be clamouring for the privatisation of the health sector, but Adewole believes it is not the best option. He said he does not support privatisation of the primary health care. He said giving incentives is a better motivating tool rather than total privatisation.
15. Out of stock syndrome
This means a situation whereby government hospital pharmacies do not have prescribed drugs the patients need. Thereby, the patients or their close ones move to town to buy drugs which could be substandard or counterfeit ones. The professor warned against this.
16. Attitude and disposition of health workers
The outgoing university VC said the health workers should work on their attitude towards their job. He said this will go a long way in improving the image of the sector.
17. A need for a robust health information management system
“Every doctor should be ICT-complainant.” The professor of obstetrics said. Adewole said every health worker should keep himself updated with the latest health technology tools.
18. NHIS, a good scheme
Professor Adewole said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a good health plan which all Nigerians should embrace. He said the main thing needed is for the government to enlighten the public more about the working modalities of the scheme.
19. Child delivery in religious centres
The INEC returning officer during the Saturday, March 28 presidential election said giving birth to babies in churches or any other religious organisation is okay. He said it is even cheaper. He said the major challenge there is that there is no enough skilled birth attendants and professionally trained nurses. He suggested a form of partnership between government hospitals and religious centres in order to improve the knowledge of the later about safe child delivery. Adewole also said midwives should be trained in order to shed the load off the neck of government hospital nurses.
In addition, he stated the importance of a referral method during child birth. This means that in case there are one or two complications during child delivery while the woman is in labour, she would be referred to government hospitals for better expertise in order to save her life and that of the unborn child.
20. General health
Adewole said the public should about all areas that have to do with their health and those of other people that live close and far from them.
Culled from Naij.com