Adding that the COVID-19 has made realized and indeed Nigeria realize that they are just one disease from global destabilization.
The chairman of the Governors Forum who made this call at the Centenary Celebration of the Association for General and Private Medical Practitioners Of Nigeria AGPMN, in Abuja yesterday, said that neither individuals, governments nor the global development community can entirely prevent the emergence of diseases.
Fayemi said that however, Nigeria can be better prepared by strengthening its health system through investment in health security and universal health coverage, that investing in health security through financing epidemic preparedness is a smart and cost-effective way to protect lives and safeguard the economy with a significant return on investment.
According to him, in addition, the resources and infrastructure required for pandemic preparedness also facilitate efforts to fight endemic diseases, that investing in health security not only saves lives but is also a vital investment in the wider economy.
“In Ekiti State, for instance, we have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic
to strengthen our public health security. We have decentralized testing to 145 testing centres, the highest in the country, and improved our disease surveillance capacity to pick up early signals of possible outbreaks.
“Also, invest in the capacity of health workers. There is a need to address challenges in human resources for health. Challenges in training, and continuous professional development among others should be prioritised and addressed. The quality of our health workers reflects on the quality of our health system.
“It is therefore pivotal to invest in continuous capacity improvement for health workers. Providing the needed equipment in healthcare facilities is extremely important as health workers cannot function optimally with limited tools. In my State for example, we have focused on redistribution, capacity building and reward of our health workforce.
“At the Primary care level, where this time last year, 50% of our nurses and midwives were spread across only 5 of the 16 LGAs, we have redistributed our nurses and midwives within senatorial zones to ensure a more equitable access to skilled hands.
Earlier, Amb. Iyke Odo, President of Association for General and Private Medical Practitioners Of Nigeria AGPMN,lamented that Nigerians are witnesses to the poor state of the country’s healthcare delivery system that, with all modesty, has eroded the very fabrics of its foundation and left it suppressed and incapacitated.
“We are witnesses to the progressive obliteration of the lines of distinction between the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care in the healthcare system that has totally collapsed the traditional referral principle that is the ideology behind the step ladder approach to global best practice.
“We are witnesses to the body of healthcare professionals torn apart by a war of misplaced ego prosecuted at the cost of the lives of innocent Nigerians and at the expense of the health and well-being of the health professions. We have also witnessed incessant industrial actions by medical and healthcare workers.
“We have seen very poor funding of the health system, the poor infrastructure, poor conditions of service for medical and healthcare personnel in both private and public settings. We have continued to watch helplessly as Nigerians engage in a mass exodus to other countries for medical treatment that has been estimated to cost us as much as $1Billion per annum,” he said.