See the 25 ways to improve health care delivery in Nigeria. These tips are important because the state of healthcare delivery in the country has become a serious source of concern.
The health sector is one critical part of the economy, which Nigerians should not overlook but yearly, it receives a little share of the budget and continuously suffers from neglect without any protest.
A popular adage says, “Health is wealth,” This means that for you to acquire wealth, you must be healthy. There is another saying that, if you lose health you have lost everything.
For instance, if some staff of a hospital falls sick this will cause output to fall. That is how important the subject of health is to productivity in an organization.
In this post, I will show you how work related factors, government policy, regulation and supervision, donor agencies funds, university curriculum, and equipment, affect the supply of health care in Nigeria.
To improve health care delivery, government and the people’s attitude must change. Let us see some of the best ways to fix this problem.
25 Ways to Improve Health Care Delivery in Nigeria
We shall begin with work related factors.
1) Employ Top Class Health Care Practitioners
Hiring the suitable staff for appropriate work is the best way to make your organization serve the purpose for which it was set up.
Therefore, employing highly qualified personnel to work in the public and private sectors of Nigeria’s health care industry will make it more useful and well managed.
2) Medical Insurance Coverage
Health care is a serious matter so introducing reforms, will ensure that government provides medical insurance for all public service employees, and pass a law making it compulsory for private organizations to give their employees medical insurance cover too.
How will this improve health care delivery?
Giving public service staffs insurance cover, demonstrates how valuable the government takes the health of its employees and their general wellbeing.
As they say, “one good turn deserves another.” This policy will make public health care workers; give more attention to patients in hospitals.
3) Provide Incentives to Health Care Workers
Giving incentives to health care workers will motivate them to work harder, increase their passion to give their best and help them to keep improving.
The following strategy can inspire them; special salary package, give them mortgage loans, leave bonus, overseas travel, car loans, improvement of off-hour duty pay, and then move staff around different departments and units to improve competence.
4) Provide Promotion Based on Merit
If you base staff promotions of public and private service on merit, it will make them very loyal and their morals would be at its highest peak. If this happens, health care delivery will experience a great boost.
5) Computerization of Operations
The waiting time between when a patient arrives in our public hospitals to when they are treated is unacceptable. If our hospitals are computerized, inputting, and retrieving patient details will be faster.
If the hospitals are computerized, this will make public hospitals more efficient and help them treat more patients with less time. When this happens, both the patients and the doctors gain. This will be a major way to improve health care delivery.
6) Employ support staff
Employing support staff to add to the number of doctors and nurses is necessary if you wish to see smooth flow of work and service to the public.
7) Training Support Staff
Training more medical support staff is vital if the hospitals desire to run smoothly. Support staff should undergo training every year to infuse the tenets of the job in them and instill discipline amongst them.
8) Inspire a Sense of Ownership of the Hospital
If you hope to improve health care delivery, then you must instill the whole staff with a sense of ownership of the hospital, equipment, and property.
Proper handling and maintenance of the few outdated equipment in the hospitals are necessary if you want them to operate at their best possible capacity.
9) Respect for Human Dignity
Hospital staffs are human beings so their propensity to misbehave is not in doubt. For proper handling of patients, it will be nice to give them training to value fellow human beings.
10) Strict Supervision of the Health Sector
The Federal Ministry of Health must be on its toes to supervise the sector properly. They must ensure all hospitals meet international best practice and standards.
Grade hospitals from good to great to determine the best and give awards to recognize them and to spur others to measure up. This has a way of improving health care delivery in the country.
The axe must fall on erring hospitals that fall below set standards either by withdrawal of operating license, or payment of stipulated punitive fines to keep every practitioner in check.
Secondly, you must sack and prosecute all the quack medical doctors and health workers to prevent future occurrence.
Finally, medical association and hospital management boards must discipline any Doctor, who commits a minor offence such as lateness to work etc.
12) Maintain High Standards
Our medical schools must observe strict standards to ensure doctors; nurses and other medical workers, pass the required exams before allowing them to practice.
There must be continuous training to keep them current with the latest procedures on a yearly basis.
13) More Private Hospitals
Government must make sure appropriate bodies check thoroughly before approving requests to set up hospitals. Continuous supervision of these hospitals must continue even after they begin operations.
14) Fund the Health Sector and Federal Universities
Making money available to Federal Universities and special grants for the Faculties of Medicine and Health Institutions will help them produce excellent doctors, nurses, and health workers.
If the schools have funds, brilliant doctors and support medical staff, will become the norm in the health sector and this will improve health care services throughout the country.
16) Provide Modern Equipment
It is fact that most of our public health care facilities have outdated health equipment. This is a sorry situation, which must change if we wish to improve health care delivery in Nigeria.
We lose patients to simple medical procedures, due to lack of modern equipment.
Civil society, the Press, and concerned citizens must speak out to persuade government to replace old equipment in public hospitals to save more lives.
17) Sponsor New Health Insurance Bill
Civil Society groups should organize citizens to approach members of the house of Assembly, to pass a new health insurance act that makes it compulsory for both government and private employers, to create a new health insurance scheme for employees.
Both the staff and employer will have to contribute in a ratio of 30:70 percent to fund the program.
18) Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)
The introduction of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO,) has brought some innovations into the health care sector.
HMOs register employees into the scheme in the offices where they work. An Individual can register too provided they can pay the fixed monthly premium.
The following are some ways it improves health care delivery in Nigeria.
- it allows employees to select primary hospitals they prefer
- it will cause early diagnosis of cases
- enable patients to use standard hospitals that are close to them
- have health care at affordable cost
- pay a fixed monthly premium
- it costs less than the traditional health insurance plan
- it is better than the present walk in method where many Nigerians visit hospital only when they are too sick to move about.
One disadvantage is that there are some restrictions as per limits of health coverage particularly when ailment is chronic.
Second, is that it is difficult to maintain standard. The reason for this is that HMO’s own only a few hospitals but employ doctors and hospitals on contract for use by individuals or groups that register under them.
Because of the above reason, it will be tough to maintain the same standard on all the hospitals that a HMO appoints.
19) Improve Medical Curriculum
Improving the curriculum in our universities and health Institutions to include up to date subjects, will lead to the graduation of skilled doctors to run our hospitals, and this will improve health care delivery in Nigeria.
20) Replace Obsolete Laws
The house of assembly must pass new laws to improve health care delivery in our public and private hospitals.
Outdated rules must give way to modern ones. For example, the rule that require a police report for any patient with bullet wounds before they are treated is not only anti human but also wicked.
We must remove this clause from our laws. Hospitals are to save lives and the police can prosecute the person after he or she gets well.
21) Make Some Public Hospitals Centers of Excellence
If private and public hospitals are to be better than they are presently, we must select some of our public hospitals, and upgrade them to centers of excellence, where the staff, equipment, and buildings can compare easily with the best hospitals abroad.
If we implement this policy, it will improve health care delivery.
22) Money for Health Ministry
Making money available for use of the health ministry and monitoring the careful use of the grants will help to improve health care delivery in Nigeria.
If you use the funds properly, this will ensure that there is medicine and constant power supply in hospitals and reduce the death rate of pregnant women and children in our hospitals.
Secondly, hospitals and health centers nationwide will have up to date equipment to save more lives.
23) Reduce Preventable Deaths
Government must intensify enlightenment campaigns through the Public Enlightenment Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health.
For example, informing people to keep their neighborhoods clean and source of water free from contamination will reduce preventable deaths from diseases such as Malaria, Cholera, and Lassa fever.
24) Work with Donor Agencies and Non Government Organizations
If federal ministry of health works with donor agencies and nongovernmental organizations to provide education, small agric loans, social welfare, and decent housing for children and women in the rural areas, this would improve health care delivery in Nigeria.
In addition, with the cooperation of these agencies with government, Health Centers in the rural areas, would receive medicine, doctors, and health workers who are keen to serve the people.
25) Providing Money for Research
Terminal diseases such as breast and prostate cancer are difficult to manage in Nigeria. Government can provide money for our universities to conduct research to find a cure for these diseases.
Finding a cure here will not only improve the health care delivery in Nigeria, but also lift the country’s image amongst the global community.
We have listed and looked at the ways to improve health care delivery in Nigeria.
The burden is heavy but all that is left is for us to make conscious efforts to correct the problems that have made health care delivery, a nightmare for both the doctors and the patients.
We must elevate the status of healthcare delivery to an essential service; it is supposed to be so that we can turn it into a service we can all be proud of, because it concerns all of us.
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