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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 146-147

Nigerian healthcare organization: A mirror to Africa’s conundrum?

1 Senior lecturer, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, Bayero University, Kano
2 Lecturer of Dental Public Health, Department of Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Bayero University, Kano

Date of Web Publication20-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Uchenna Kelvin Omeje
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, Bayero University, Kano

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DOI: 10.4103/ssajm.ssajm_29_18

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How to cite this article:
Omeje UK, Adeoye JB. Nigerian healthcare organization: A mirror to Africa’s conundrum?. Sub-Saharan Afr J Med 2018;5:146-7

How to cite this URL:
Omeje UK, Adeoye JB. Nigerian healthcare organization: A mirror to Africa’s conundrum?. Sub-Saharan Afr J Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Oct 16];5:146-7. Available from: http://www.ssajm.org/text.asp?2018/5/4/146/267127

Nigeria, the world’s largest congregation of black Africans and the most populous country in Africa, is a plural country with multiple cultures, languages, and religions.[1],[2] Its centrality to the African context, its huge, teeming population, and its vast untapped potential make it crucial for a discussion on organization of healthcare in Africa. Unfortunately, despite its enviable appellate, “Giant of Africa,” it has a checkered history of political instability, civil strife, and socioeconomic upheavals that have hindered all spheres of human endeavors, especially the health sector.[3]

Currently, the pertinent healthcare problems in Nigeria revolve around poor access to healthcare and a shortage of manpower. This latter problem is complicated by an ever-increasing rate of emigration of healthcare professionals, medical tourism, and poor political will to improve health and healthcare. There is a general tendency by policy-makers and administrators to focus on intervention rather than prevention, with most efforts focusing on urban areas, even though an estimated 70% of the population live in rural areas. To complicate the situation further, resurgence of communicable diseases, despite the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases, combines with negative trado-religious beliefs and donor dependence to create a toxic mix which hinders concerted development.[3]

While these problems and their immediate causes are mirrored in other African countries, there are distinct differences in the complexion of these problems all over Africa.[4] For example, in some parts of Africa, healthcare disorganization is more related to widespread poverty. In Nigeria, however, the effect of poverty may be secondary to sociodemographical and geographical disorganization of the country, hampering the effect of policies and health intervention efforts. Also, healthcare utilization rates may be more related to inability to access care in some countries. In most parts of Nigeria, anecdotal evidence indicates that the cost of treatment is a bigger deterrent to the healthcare utilization instead.

Despite these differences, the key to solving each individual and Africa’s collective healthcare organization problems is simultaneous reorganization both within and between countries, and this must begin with regional coordination, so that countries with similar realities can take mutually beneficial decisions. This reorganization will be expansive in scope and include policies, national programs, and data sharing among others. This will also necessarily be including other sectors with sway over the major socioeconomic determinants of health. Subsequent country efforts can then be retrofitted from successful efforts elsewhere to accommodate individual country peculiarities. Therefore, the way forward starts at global cooperation with regional focus, followed by individual country commitment toward smart decisions that advance healthcare.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Akanni IA, Uche CI. Demographic dynamics and development in Nigeria: Issues and perspectives. Afr Popul Stud 2014;27:239-48.  Back to cited text no. 1
National Population Commission (NPC) and ICF Macro. Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Abuja, Nigeria: National Population Commission and ICF Macro; 2009.  Back to cited text no. 2
Osinubi TS. Macroeconometric analysis of growth, unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. Pak Eco Soc Rev 2005:XLIII;249-69.  Back to cited text no. 3
Akukwe C. Health care delivery in Africa: An overview of the issues, choices, challenges and opportunities. Afr Renaissance 2006;3:13-9.  Back to cited text no. 4


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