A Dose of Reality: Prof. Faduyile’s Wake-Up Call for Nigeria’s Healthcare – Insights from Nigerian Physicians’ Annual Week Celebration

During the celebration of the 2023 Annual Physicians Week, Nigerian Medical and Dental practitioners had the privilege of listening to the Special Adviser on health to the Ondo State Governor,Prof.Dayo Faduyile, OON,who delivered the keynote address. In his speech, he reflected on the critical state of the nation’s healthcare system, highlighting the challenges faced by Nigeria’s health sector.


He emphasized the alarming health indicators in Nigeria, ranking the country among the lowest globally, according to German data platform Statista.Prof.Faduyile pointed out that Nigeria’s health system was rated as the “157th best health system” out of 167 countries worldwide. Despite this dire situation, the government’s response has been insufficient.


The World Health Organization (WHO) had recently highlighted Nigeria and 54 other countries as facing significant health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage. He noted the discrepancy between these challenges and the African Heads of States’ 2001 Abuja Declaration, which recommended allocating at least 15% of the annual budget to healthcare. Regrettably, Nigeria had not adhered to this agreement over the last 22 years, with the government offering only lip service.


This year’s Physicians Week theme, “This is our Chance to Get It Right int the Health Sector,” holds special significance as Nigeria welcomes a new government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He stressed the role of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in striving for a more equitable healthcare sector under this regime.


The keynote speaker also highlighted the foundational role of Primary Health Care (PHC) in Nigeria’s healthcare system. He emphasized that over 75% of Nigerians interact with the health system at the PHC level. However, despite significant past investments, only about 20% of PHC facilities in Nigeria are fully operational, facing issues like inadequate staffing, poor infrastructure, and lack of essential equipment.

Prof Dayo Faduyile underlined the need for the government’s attention to prioritize PHC, which forms the basis of the healthcare system. He expressed rconcern that politicians often favored large-scale projects over essential primary care, affecting healthcare delivery.


The keynote speaker also addressed the shortage of healthcare personnel across various cadres and how it impacts healthcare at different levels. He pointed out that even tertiary healthcare institutions lack essential equipment for comprehensive patient care.


In his closing remarks, Prof Dayo Faduyile emphasized the need for strategic approaches to improve the health sector, including lobbying, active participation in legislation, and proactive engagement with politicians. He encouraged the Nigerian Medical Association and its affiliates to play a more significant role in influencing government decisions and policies.


As Nigerian physicians celebrated their week, Prof Dayo Faduyile’s speech resonated as a call to action, highlighting the pressing issues and offering a path towards a brighter future for the health sector in Nigeria.

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