Reforms, policies in Health sector yet to halt brain drain one year into Tinibu’s administration

Thu, May 30, 2024
By editor

Featured, Health

By Ejenike Christabel

UNFORTUNATELY, the Nigerian health sector has never received the desired attention from the federal government, especially in the areas of adequate budgeting, provision of needed health facilities and remuneration for the health officials like doctors and nurses.

According to Statista, a German online platform that specialises in data and information gathering in the Health Systems Ranking of Countries Worldwide placed Nigeria 157 out of 167 countries in 2023.

Perhaps, the poor state of the Nigerian health sector was responsible for the brain drain syndrome in the sector. The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has painted a pitiable state of the nation’s health sector when it stated that the ratio of 1 doctor to 10,000 persons in the population, which is far below the average recommended by the World Health Organization, WHO, which is 1 doctor to 600 persons in the population.

The poor state of the Nigerian Health sector and the need for urgent intervention may have attracted some of the recorded interventions in the first one year of the Tinubu administration.

For instance, on April 17, 2023, the federal government approved the promising new malaria vaccine known as R21.

The director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that Nigeria was expected to receive about 100,000 doses of the vaccine as donations.

And in June 2023, when Bill Gates, the co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Aliko Dangote, the President of Aliko Dangote Foundation and President Tinubu pledged to prioritise the safety of Nigerians, noting that for a country to develop, the health of its people, particular the workforce is critical.

Furthermore in September 2023 when a delegation from the Global Fund, US President’s Malaria Initiative, PMI, and the US President’s Emergency Plan For Relief, PREFAR, paid the Nigerian Vice President a visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Vice President Kashim Shettima stated that increasing domestic health financing, industrialization and improved health outcomes would be topmost on the agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in the health sector.

In December 2023, President Tinubu noted the importance of primary healthcare in building a resilient integrated healthcare system and he announced his plans for a comprehensive revamp of the physical infrastructure, equipment and retraining of frontline health workers starting from 2024.

And to address the high cost of healthcare, the President said that Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF would be redesigned to enhance access to essential healthcare services as outlined in the National Health Act, NHA, 2014.

On January 22, 2024, the federal government inaugurated the Global Fund Grant Cycle -7 on HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Resilient and sustainable system for 2024 – 2026 implementation periods.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, said that the programme was beneficial to the good people of Nigeria.

Again, in February 2024, at a meeting with the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export – Import Bank, AfreximBank, President Tinubu assured that his administration was strongly committed to providing excellent healthcare facilities for all Nigerians. 

As the Tinubu administration marks its one year in office, it is evident that many of the reform programmes of the federal government are yet to take effect.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dele Abdullahi, has stated that while significant plans had been made to improve the health sector, implementation is crucial for the success of such plans.

Local media reports quoted Abdullahi as saying that the current administration inherited some challenges in the healthcare sector such as chronic manpower shortage and large manpower gap in all tertiary institutions.

But he, however, warns against incessant attacks on healthcare workers in some of the nation’s hospitals, while awaiting the outcomes of most of the planed reforms and policies in the health sector to materialize for the benefit of all Nigerians.


-May 30, 2024 @ 13:32 GMT|