By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
As drivers of frontiers of knowledge and interrogators of processes, products of academic research efforts are vital to the development of the Health sector and the ability to improve on providing health services in an equitable manner.
The Minister of State, Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated this at the maiden Edition of Faculty of Health Science’s Public Lecture, theme: Achieving UHC Through PHC: Lessons from Nigeria’s Saving One Million Lives Program for Results (SOML PforR), held at the National Open University of Nigeria(NOUN) headquarters, in Abuja.
A statement by the ministry’s Director, Media and Public Relations, Boade Akinola said the Minister charged the Academia to enhance the knowledge base of students on methodologies for surveys, data gathering, cleaning and analysis.
This, he said would equip health workers properly to examine key challenges to governance health structures, donor organizations, the private sector and civil society in the relationship between health economics and the drive to Universal Health Coverage (UCH) as the national responsibility of governments.
Dr. Ehanire, who was Chairman of the occasion, said the lecture theme was apt, given that UHC is a priority Programme of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. He added that the Nation’s paradigm shift from investment of huge sums in health care without commensurate results to ’Performance For Result’ (PforR) financing strategy was the new approach introduced to power the SOML Programme as a flagship intervention to improve Maternal and Child Health, through results-focused partnership with States In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, said he was elated to host the event which in his words “provides a window for the public to see what NOUN has to offer towards educational development in Nigeria” Professor Adamu informed that NOUN has about 495,000 thousand student population while over 60,000 thousand students had graduated from the University.
He noted that the title of the lecture which showed the Federal Government’s empathy and political will in addressing health concerns of majority of Nigerians by stimulating access, equity and equality to health care and wellbeing coincided with the philosophy of Open and Distance Learning as it ensures access and equity for all who seek knowledge in different areas of their endeavors.
In his presentation, the Guest lecturer and National Programme Manager, SOML-PforR, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, explained that the aim of SOML PforR was to deliver high impact, evidence based, cost effective interventions based on 6 “Pillars” and 2 “Enablers” with the objective of achieving wider coverage of interventions that currently suffer from poor access and utilization.
He maintained that lessons learnt so far from the SOML Programme revealed that: SOML has been effective in increasing government awareness on critical Maternal Neonatal and Child Health indicators; strengthen data collection, analysis and utilization, competition amongst States and provide opportunity for hard working states to earn more money, amongst others
To make greater progress however, Dr. Kana called on Departments of Public Health of each University to adopt one PHC per senatorial District; conduct regular operational research in those facilities; set as standard for other facilities to follow and Use as laboratories to test new approaches and techniques.
He further urged the Academia to triangulate with government policies by picking interest in better understanding of government Policies and relate with realities; teach students about current government policies; and allow free exchange of Human Resources from Universities to Ministry of Health.
In the area of training, he advocated for a reviewed training methodology of Primary health Care(PHC) workers, active and tailored training of PHC workers and training on Biostatics e.g. collection and use of data.