Posted on: Fri 09-02-2024

Nigerian health professionals have called for a streamlined, seamless healthcare system to improve healthcare indices and create an environment where Nigerians can receive affordable, accessible and quality healthcare.

The professionals under the auspices of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, HFN, said that the private sector attending to the healthcare needs of over 70 per cent of Nigerian patients underscores the urgent need to close the gaps between the private and public health sectors.

Speaking to reporters about the organization's upcoming annual conference, themed: “Bridging the Gaps in Healthcare- Public-Private Integration as a Catalyst for Sustainable Growth” and scheduled for February 8–9, 2024, President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, stated that while the organization has long discussed public-private partnerships, it was now time to discuss public-private integration as a means of improving the health system.

“We are attempting to bring together the public and private sectors to work on achieving that streamlined, seamless health system that will work better for all of us. We have one set of Nigerian patients.”

Ajayi, who also bemoaned the exodus of medical personnel to other nations, urged increased funding for the production of pharmaceuticals, emphasizing that medications are essential for everyone’s existence.

Noting that experts discussing drug-related topics will be present at the upcoming two-day conference with 79 resource persons, she said that Nigeria could not remain depending on external drug manufacturers.

“Unlocking the pharmaceutical value chain is one of the conference’s main themes. There is also the need for low-interest funding to ensure that these funds can be invested into pharmaceuticals and to encourage research because a lot of our pharmaceuticals produce what we call generic drugs. What we need are specialized drugs and not just any specialized drugs, but drugs that work for us as Africans.”

Speaking, the Vice President of HFN, Dr Njide Ndili said HFN over the years have been pushing and advocating for the inclusion of the private sector in the healthcare business system and currently the private sector is providing a critical pillar in terms of health systems delivery.

She said that the new Coordinating Minister of Health, Dr. Ali Pate, the HFN and others in the private sector are speaking with one voice to make sure that they integrate into the health care delivery system, that the environment is favourable and the policies are favourable.

On his part, the Co-Chair of the organising committee, Dr Ikenna Nwosu said over 500 people are expected to be at the programme with over 40 companies coming for the exhibition and 79 resource persons among others.   “We also have people joining online.   It will showcase the best of technology and medication we have in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa, as of today and the future.”

Noting that health outcomes in Nigeria are one of the worst and can be improved, Co-Chair, Dr Chinyere Okorocha who presented the HFN Women’s Forum, disclosed that the new forum was to optimise the role of women in the healthcare value chain.

Okorocha said there would be fundraising for female-founded Healthcare Initiatives

Some of the guests expected at the conference include;  the former Minister and then Secretary for Health, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, the current Minister of State for Health and Social Services, Dr Tunji Alausa, the National Coordinator, Presidential Unlocking Healthcare Value-Chain, Dr Abdu Mukhter, Commissioners of Health and all associations in the healthcare sector among others.

Some of the presentations at the proposed event include; the Role of the Private Sector in the Health Sector Investment Renewal Initiative, Healthcare Sector Supply Chain Optimisation, and  Strategic Partnerships for Supply Chain Optimisation: Creating Special Health Channels for fast-tracking healthcare Goods.

Others are Optimising pharmaceutical manufacturing, especially in light of the exodus of some manufacturing companies to the healthcare sector and out-of-pocket expenses.  There will also be panel sessions as well as awards.