Stakeholders in the health sector have expressed happiness over the appreciable progress recorded in the sector in the 62 years of Nigeria’s independence.
The stakeholders including surgeons, academics, health practitioners, and patients spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi and Gombe while reacting to the October 1, National Day Celebration.
The Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru said the trajectory in the health sector had been impressive from 1960 to date.
According to him, the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) at federal and state levels is a thing of joy to Nigerians.
He said the scheme impacted positively on the lives of the citizens by enhancing access to quality and affordable healthcare services.
“In the late 1960s and 1970s, we don’t have NHIS, we relied on out-of-pocket expenses, a difficult situation even for the working class.
“The government has made it compulsory and it is working well, this is the best we have seen over the years though you cannot say the whole thing is across the board,” he said.
In the area of human resources, Dahiru said the country had enough skills to ensure effective delivery of quality healthcare services to the people.
He observed that the number of educational institutions providing training for medical and other health-related disciplines had increased substantially in the country as against only one university in 1960.
Nigeria, he said, witnessed rapid health infrastructure development ranging from tertiary, secondary, and primary health facilities across the country.
He, however, identified poor policy implementation and lack of synergy among partners as the major bane militating against sustainable development in the sector.
Also, Maryamu Luka, a retired Nursing Officer, said the establishment of Teaching And Specialist Hospitals had encouraged specialisation and transformed the healthcare system in the country.
However, Sakina Hassan and Nasiru Musa, residents of Bauchi, expressed concern over the lack of trained personnel and professionals to facilitate effective management of healthcare facilities in the country.
She said that though the government provided health facilities at all levels lack of adequate personnel was militating against its effective operations.
“The facilities are established almost in every community but the human resources needed for effective service delivery are not available.
“There is a need to upgrade the health training schools to enable them to produce more trained personnel to address the manpower gap in the country, ” she said.
Musa advocated for proactive measures to encourage the recruitment of trained health personnel as well as check the brain drain in the sector.
He also called for increased funding to tertiary health institutions to encourage research and development.
Moreso; Elizabeth John, lauded the introduction of On-Call Healthcare service and free immunisation programmes.
She said the gesture enhanced children’s and women’s access to family health services at the grassroots.
“Patients can now access health information and medical care via Short Service Message (SNS),” she said.
For her part, Asma’u Yahaya, Chairperson, People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in Bauchi State, said that social inclusion in the sector had enabled physically challenged persons to access healthcare services at ease.
“The health sector is doing well, especially with social inclusion, people with special needs are accessing healthcare services without difficulties”.