By Steve Oni, Ilorin
As part of government’s determination at providing qualitative and affordable health services to the people, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has given a week ultimatum to the state’s Ministry of Health to complete installation of its state-of-the-art automated Dialysis Machine at the state’s General Hospital, Ilorin.
The Governor, who was on an on the spot assessment of the newly acquired machine and other ongoing works at the Hospital, frowned at the delay in the installation of the machine and directed the commissioner for health, Dr Suleiman Atolagbe Alege, to ensure its immediate installation.
Ahmed said: “We cannot afford to waste time on the installation of these facilities because it’s live-saving equipment that requires urgent installation.”
“Do you know how many people will benefit from this when completed? Don’t you realise the agonies patients go through in getting succour from various kinds of kidney disease?”
Other projects inspected by the governor included College Nursing and Midwifery and Adewole Henry George road, both in Ilorin. At the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Governor Ahmed directed the Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Ademola Banu to release necessary funds for various ongoing works at the school.
At the Adewole Henry George road, Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya told the governor that the work was at 95% completion with the assurance that it would be completed on schedule.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has backed the use of mobile phones to raise funds, to enable the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
According to a case study by the WHO published as part of activities to mark the International Day for Universal Health Coverage (IDFUHC), Gabon’s health insurance programme now covers 99 percent of the country’s poor, helping to provide services that would otherwise be out of reach.
According to a case study by the WHO, mobile phones are becoming one of the world’s most important health tools, used in many countries to track exercise, ensure medicines are genuine, and even to read blood glucose levels; and in Gabon, they are being used to raise revenue for the national health system.
The WHO report titled “The road to universal health coverage: A case study on Gabon,” noted, “A 10 percent levy on the revenues of mobile phone companies and on mobile phone usage, introduced by Gabon’s government in 2008, has helped to more than double the funds for a health insurance programme that now covers 99 percent of the equatorial nation’s poor, giving them access to critical health services such as care during pregnancy.
“The levy is one of a set of measures that increased enrolment in health insurance plans in Gabon to 45 percent of the population in 2012, from less than 20 percent in 2007. Gabon is one of more than 100 countries that have approached WHO for advice on how to move towards universal health coverage, to ensure that their populations can access quality health services without suffering financial hardship”, it stated.
The recent outbreak of Lassa fever obviously exposed further the poor health care system in Nigeria. It specifically told the world that Nigeria’s disease surveillance and control is still backwards. It also exposed the inefficiency of the nation’s Primary Health Care system. Above all the Lassa fever Outbreak which seems to have gotten out of hand is also sending the signal that Nigeria managed to contain Ebola not because all human and financial resources were made available.
The Nigerian Government called for an Emergency session of the National Council on Health (NCH) on Lassa Fever Outbreak, the same way the country did when the first index case of Ebola was reported.
The night long meeting in September 2014 had all state Governors making promises to boost its disease surveillance and control system then, many of those pledges were not fulfilled and thus the seemingly uncontrollable lassa Fever deaths.
It could also be recalled that the then administration made financial commitments for construction of quarantine centers and ambulance systems available in states. There were alleged reports that some of those funds were not accounted for.
Following the outbreak of Lassa fever which started since August 2015, and were not reported until the time the disease spread beyond control, the Federal ministry of health called for emergency national Council on Health meeting which held at the Rotunda Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building, Abuja, FCT on 19th January, 2016. The National Council on Health is the highest advisory body on health in Nigeria.
The Emergency meeting was convened by the Honourable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole to lay the foundation for a Multi-Sectoral Response to the Lassa Fever Outbreak as a matter of urgency.
The specific objectives of the Emergency meeting were presented to Council by the Honourable Minister of State for Health and included the need to facilitate discussion on the control of the on-going Lassa fever outbreak, development of strategies for the prevention and management of outbreaks; operationalisation of integrated management of outbreaks and emergencies at the Federal, State and LGA levels; and inauguration of the Lassa fever eradication committee.
The health Minister made a presentation called “Laying the Foundation for a Multi-Sectoral Response to Lassa Fever”. The presentation elucidated the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy for the control of Lassa Fever and other similar milar diseases. He called on all the States to strengthen their surveillance systems, report all cases and collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health in the successful implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy.
The Council also received a presentation on Epidemiological Situation of the current Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria including available Response Infrastructure/Resource requirements by Prof. Abdulaslami Nasidi, National Coordinator/CEO, NCDC; updates from Lassa Fever affected states who detailed the progression of the outbreak(s) in their states and current efforts to contain and prevent further spread of the disease and reassure the affected Communities; as well as updates from CMDs/MDs of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions located within the affected States on their response and high index of suspicion towards all cases coming to their institutions, their management of confirmed cases, and measures being implemented to prevent nosocomial spread within their facilities as well as their community outreach efforts.
the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health, its Agencies and Parastatals under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Health as well as the efforts of all States including non-affected States who are actively strengthening their surveillance systems, awareness and health programme campaigns were recognized . But what was lacking was indebt feedback from the states on disease control and emergency response after the Ebola experience in Nigeria.
The NCH participants however said Ebola, was different from Lassa Fever which they said is treatable if detected early and there are adequate treatment centres spread across the country.
They were optimistic that the virus would be contained as they reassured the Public on the adequacy of the response to the outbreak and urged the Public, Community and Religious leaders to cooperate with the Health Agencies in their States to ensure prompt reporting of any suspected case.
The NCH comprises of the State Commissioners for Health of the 36 States, the Secretary of Health & Human Services Secretariat FCT, with the Honourable Minister of Health as the Chairman of the Council. The Emergency Meeting of the National Council on Health was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac F. Adewole.
A total of 418 delegates participated from the Ministry, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health including Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions, State Ministries of Health and the Health & Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja. Others in attendance were representatives of key Federal Ministries such as Agriculture, Education, Environment and Information; Also in attendance were Development Partners drawn from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, WAHO, CDC, PATHS2, DFID, BMGF, HERFON, AFENET, Higher Commissioner of Canada, Innovative Vaccines, and USAID; as well as delegates from the Health Regulatory Bodies, Professional associations, the Tri-Services of the Nigerian Military and Para-