The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) says achieving a good health system will require collaborative efforts among partners in health.
The Director, Health Planning, Research and Statistics, FMOH, Dr Emmanuel Meribole, made this known at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop in Lagos on Thursday.
The workshop is focusing on “Prioritisation of NHMIS, Procurement and Supply Management (PSM) and Laboratory Systems’ Interventions in the Resilient and Sustainable System for Health (RSSH) Proposal and Partners Mapping of Global Fund Support in Nigeria’’.
The organisers are: FMOH, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Global Fund, an international financing organisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Global Fund awarded Nigeria a RSSH grant, as part of its efforts toward supporting countries.
The grant is aimed at re positioning the health system to provide quality care and services to the clients through the RSSH grant.
The RSSH is targeted toward more effective coordination in the health sector as well as promoting ownership and sustainability.
Meribole was represented by Mr Adeleke Balogun, the Head, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, Health Planning, Research and Statistics, FMOH.
The Director said: “The process to achieve success is ongoing; that is, through collaborative planning and thinking.
“This is what we can see from this forum. That is, stakeholders, partners, donors are now coming together to discuss and identify priority areas; look at funding gaps and take decisions in terms of drawing implementation plans.
“The goal of this workshop is to unpack the activities of the RSSH and prioritise based on country’s needs to practically move forward health systems strengthening in Nigeria.
“To improve diagnostic and patient monitoring services, health products availability, data availability, completeness, timeliness and accuracy; and to enhance data use for programme management and decision-making.
“It is also a great opportunity to map out HMIS, PSM and laboratory systems being supported in Nigeria by other stakeholders.
“This workshop is also expected to build synergy between the government and the stakeholders. “
Meribole said that the Global Fund had been supporting Nigeria in the strengthening and scale up of health care services in the area of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
According to him, the grant has helped the nation in increasing access to HIV Counselling and Testing Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and HIV treatment.
“Thereby reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths in both adults and children.
“It has also accelerated TB care and support services as well as interventions, targeted toward the elimination of malaria in Nigeria.
“Similarly, the grants supported the enhancement and scaling up of the NHMIS activities in Nigeria, “ he said.
The Head, National Health Management Information System (NHMIS), FMOH, Mr Emmanuel Abatta, said that achieving a functional health system would require adequate health information in place.
Abatta said: “FMOH is doing everything possible to provide quality of care to the country and the Federal Government is also trying to make sure the country achieves Universal Health Coverage.
“So, we have strategic plans. Recently, the government launched the National Strategic Health Development Plan and this plan is a five-year plan from 2018 to 2023.
“It is a plan that we think if both government and partners put resources together, there is every tendency that we will improve the quality of care for the country.
“However, we need data to measure the performance, because right now everything is performance-based and we need to showcase the impact we have made through data.
“That is why there is need to strengthen the Health Management Information System for the country. “
Abatta said that there was need for the country to be more proactive and make information more available for the users.
According to him, lack of coordination among stakeholders has been a major challenge in the country’s HMIS.
“HMIS had been in existence. It goes beyond hospital data; it takes into account human resources for health and investment in health.
“We have had a system where partners are doing different things at different levels without the knowledge of the FMOH.
“If we must have a system which is functional, the FMOH has to be in a position to coordinate.
“We need to make data more available to people to use; we want to provide feedbacks.
“We have identified that gap and that is why the government is very keen in solving that problem by investing in technology to support generation of data and providing feedback, “ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Nibretie Workneh, an official with the Global Fund, said that the goal of the Global Fund was to eradicate and make impact on TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria.
Workneh is Global Fund’s Senior Specialist, Public Health and Monitoring and Evaluation.
According to him, the health system plays a huge role in achieving the purpose of the Global Fund.
“However, one of the major gaps in the country’s system is expanding services, especially on TB; the service availability is limited, the case detection is limited; and HIV coverage is low, it is not at the level everyone is expecting.
“These areas need more attention, support and that is what the health system will contribute to, “ he said.