By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Matthew Ogune and Adaku Onyenucheya
A recent survey conducted by Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, on the current state of Nigeria’s health system, shows that only 36 per cent of Nigerians’ health needs are met.
The survey, aimed at understanding the future of health in Nigeria and other associated health challenges, stated that the estimated percentage highlights a clear discrepancy between the expectation of Nigerians and the reality of the healthcare system.
The survey, released in Lagos at ‘The Future of Health’ summit, in association with Forbes and CNBC Africa, showed that with more than half of Nigerians leaning on hospital facilities for minor ailments, there is a clear need for improved access to primary care practitioners, local health facilities, tracking health indicators and a wider availability of information about health, nutrition and fitness.
Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa, Jasper Westerlinks, who spoke on the findings, said: “This study highlights the need for a greater focus on preventive healthcare for a sustainable health system, especially given the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In a related development, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has decried the frequent abuse of prescription drugs, especially by women and youths.
The First Lady, who spoke while receiving members of Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALP) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said government had done well by banning importation of codeine for the preparation of cough syrups as well as retailing of codeine containing cough syrups without prescription.
She, therefore, called on pharmacists to play their part in the ongoing effort to protect women and youths from drug abuse, saying: “There is the need for pharmacists to comply with the enforcement directive. Lady pharmacists, as mothers, have a special role in protecting women and youths against drug abuse.”
The National Chairman of ALP, Zainab Ujudud Shariff, commended the efforts of Mrs. Buhari in the area of IDPs’ women and youth empowerment.
Mrs. Shariff posited that drug abuse is indeed a huge challenge that requires input from all stakeholders, and as lady pharmacists, they have a special reason to lead the war at homes, markets, schools and elsewhere.
Also, an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemers University Ede, Osun State, Dr. Emmanuel Unuabonah, has urged the Federal Government to invest more in research and mentoring to raise scientists capable of bringing about the desirable change in the country.
Unuabonah, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at the induction of fellows and presentation of 2017 Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS) gold medal to deserving associates by the NAS, said: “Research is going to save the lives of millions of Nigerians, especially children who are under five because they have the worst cases when it comes to water-borne diseases. If we take the research seriously, we will be on the right part to save millions of Nigerians.”