The Association of Medical Officers of Health (AMOH) Lagos State Chapter is set to take proactive steps to improve the primary healthcare system in the state. This was disclosed by the chairman of the association, Dr. Oshoba Babatunde, during a retreat with key stakeholders and members at the weekend in Lagos.
Babatunde said that the major takeaways from the AMOH retreat were the essence of good leadership, governance and proactiveness in addressing the challenges facing the primary healthcare system, stressing the importance of mobilising resources, including capacity building, financial, and local support systems.
In his words: “In today’s retreat, we looked at issues with leadership and governance, issues around the way we do our work. We need to make ourselves more proactive, how we can actually improve the primary healthcare system, challenges regarding the primary healthcare system and properly putting into perspective how those problems can be solved.
“We should be more of people and actual problem solvers than just thinking someone will come to solve the problems for us. We must start taking proactive steps that will ensure those challenges that we have in the primary healthcare system are solved. We can actually mobilise resources to get our primary healthcare system to be up there. We need to mobilise resources that will enable us to be able to improve the primary healthcare system.
The resources could be in terms of capacity building, financial and in our time, it could just be a local support system. So, we must think outside the box to be able to address those challenges.”
The AMOH chairman said that the goal of the association is to have an effective, efficient, functional and ready-to-serve primary healthcare system.
“The outcome that we desire is to have a primary healthcare system that is effective, efficient, functional and ready to serve the needs of the people,” he added. He stated further that the retreat was meant to improve the capacity of healthcare managers in order to transform the system into one that everyone can be proud of.
Babatunde acknowledged that a lot has been done to address the challenges in the primary healthcare system in Lagos state, but he also stressed that there is always room for improvement. He identified some of the challenges as mobilising resources, governance structure, and issues around governance. He also said that the AMOH is looking at ways to synergise with key stakeholders in Lagos to push the vision, agenda and transform the whole landscape of the primary healthcare system.
“We have done a lot in addressing the challenges in the primary healthcare system in Lagos but no matter how much you do there is always room for improvement. We are looking at the ways in which we can synergize these together to strengthen primary healthcare”
Similarly, the National President of AMOH, Theophilus Dagogo, decried the many challenges facing the primary healthcare system in Nigeria, including leadership and governance issues, manpower shortages, and poor remuneration of healthcare workers.
“We have challenges with leadership and governance and most of these issues have to do with how the primary healthcare system functions. We are the field workers in charge of the primary healthcare system all over the country. We are looking at the harmonisation of policies that will work.
“We have issues with manpower and poor remuneration of doctors in Nigeria, even the healthcare workers, and that is why you find out that a lot of them are leaving the country. So, we are trying to see that those that remain will have a functional system. For every system, there must be job satisfaction, not so much about remuneration, but are you satisfied with the facilities that are provided for you. “Do you have a conducive working environment?” he retorted.
“If there is a conducive working environment, you find that there is job satisfaction and the best would be made out of the circumstances. We don’t have accommodation where we are working, we don’t have enough ambulances to take people from one point to the other and there is a need for synergy among primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare centres, which does not exist at the moment,” Dagogo said.
He, therefore, called for improvements to the primary healthcare system in Nigeria, including a more conducive working environment, better access to ambulances, and stronger synergy with secondary and tertiary healthcare centres.