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  • Professor Rotimi Jaiyesimi

The Nigerian Health Sector in 2017

As the year comes to an end, it is time to take stock of developments in the health sector in Nigeria in the last 12 months. This Page is not the mouth piece of government and will just touch on a few observations.

This year saw the emergence of the monkeypox virus in Nigeria. The fact that the virus was curtailed in Nigeria is a testimony to the work being carried out in the Nigerian Health sector. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control led by CEO. Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer/ National Coordinator, is establishing an institution that if allowed to flourish, will be a centre that confronts and curtails public health issues in Nigeria.

The Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has shown his leadership qualities in addressing the myriad of Nigeria’s health problems. At the fore of this are the gains made in the revitalisation of the primary health service the universal health coverage and the anti-tobacco policy. There is still a lot to be done in these sectors but activities so far have been encouraging. Nigeria’s health problems are enormous and will take a while for the benefits of current initiatives to be visible.

To provide an efficient health system, Government must allocate enough financial and human resources to the sector and officials, both professionals and administrative, must be held accountable for the utilisation of these funds and health outcomes.

The health sector witnessed a number of industrial actions. These do not augur well for the health of the nation. Professional rivalry is unnecessary. Mutual respect and team working will serve our patients better and we hope we can do without strikes in 2018.

We pay respect to patients who died in our care in 2017 and uphold their families in our thoughts. We remember Prof Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, who died in June 2017, Prof Salako as well as other health staff who have passed away.

Nigeria’s healthy indices are one of the poorest in the world, with high incidence of HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases and maternal & child mortality. Each Nigerian has responsibility for maintaining good health through a healthy lifestyle. Let us reduce obesity, stop smoking, drink in moderation and look after our environment.

As we move into the New Year, this Page will like to thank its 14,000 readers/friends and contributors to discussions on making every Nigerian life valuable. We call for the strengthening of the Nigerian health system.

As health issues have no boundaries, 2018 will see this Page discussing global health problems albeit with relevance to Nigeria.

This Page wishes you a healthy and joyous New Year.

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