Nigeria Spends Less than 20% of Total Health Expenditure on Pharmaceuticals

Medical practitioners say a major constraint to delivering quality healthcare in Nigeria is spending barely 20 percent of total health costs on pharmaceuticals, a figure lower than both for Sub-Saharan Africa and low-income peers.

“Nigeria is still heavily dependent on the importation of pharmaceutical products in spite of the existing local capacity,” says Eyintayo Lambo, former minister of health in his keynote address at a symposium held in Lagos on May 11.
Lambo further said, “Prices of medicines are unaffordable to the majority of Nigerians who generally pay for them out-of-pocket.”

Nigeria’s health system is very weak ranked 187/191 by the World Health Organisation in 2000 as a result of major challenges prominent of which is the inadequate budgetary allocation to the sector.

The 2017 budget allocated less than 5 percent to the health sector.

“National Health Act 2014 has not resolved the problem of scanty provisions for health in the Constitution and lack of legislation defining the roles and responsibilities of the various health actors, especially the 3 levels of government”

The symposium organised by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria was held against the backdrop of inter-professional rivalry in the health sector, which has become divisive and complicates professional healthcare delivery.

“We cannot continue like this. Research has shown that interprofessional collaboration improves the quality of care and patient satisfaction leading to a better work environment overall,” says Ahmed Yakasai, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).

Vincent Maduka, chairman of the symposium and former President, Nigeria Academy of Engineering, proposed two approaches to improving interprofessional collaboration.

“The first would be to increase incentives as it’s done in the United States – nurses, doctors, pharmacists are very well paid. These incentives might be in monetary terms or in terms of sheer regard and respect for people.

“Secondly, we should also look at sanctions for failure. If every death, every error in healthcare are visited with an investigation, and possible sanctions are meted out, there would be a good deal more esprit d corp among the various healthcare professionals. A doctor who knows that there is a big risk of getting his license revoked or pay huge fines would do well to collaborate with other team members.”

A communiqué released at the end of the symposium among other things affirmed that across the world, core emphasis is now placed on the patient as the central and most important consideration in healthcare delivery.

Therefore participants agreed to join hands to help create a new culture among different health professionals that put the health needs of the patient above any other need or consideration.

They also agreed that it is only when healthcare professionals collaborate that Nigerians can truly optimise the benefits of the healthcare industry in all facets of healthcare delivery

Some dignitaries present at the occasion include Director, Food & Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Pharm Gloria Modupe Chukwumah, who represented the Minister of Health,  President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai

Others are Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos Prof. Rahamon Ade Bello; Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH,  Christopher Bode, President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Omede Idris, President, Healthcare Providers’ Association Of Nigeria (HCPAN), Umar Sanda, General Secretary, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Fola Tayo amongst others.

Source: Business Day


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