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Poor health system responsible for difficulty in containing Lassa fever – AGBAJE

Gabriel Olawale
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As Nigeria continued to battle the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, a renowned Pharmacist, and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos, Mr. Olujimi Agbaje has blamed the difficulty in containing the outbreak of Lassa fever on poor health system among other issues affecting smooth access to quality care.

Agbaje, who spoke at the Servier Leadership Programme held in Lagos, argued that the issue of Lassa fever wouldn’t have degenerated to the extent of claiming lives and turning many mothers to widows and children to orphans if efforts are channelled in the right direction. He regretted that the first point of contact in healthcare delivery which is the General Practitioner, GP, has long been neglected.

According to him, it is also sad that the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, which supposed to link the patients with their GPs, has failed to do so. “When people register with one GP, it is the job of that GP to reach out to all those that are registered with him or her and make information regarding any infection or disease available to them. All health information will be going through GP, it means that government will only produce information leaflets and give to the GPs.”

Agbaje pointed out that until the country addresses the issue of healthcare funding, the situation will remain the same.

Healthcare system

“Healthcare is something that is very capital intensive and the reality is that it must be available for everybody and that is why some of us are in support of NHIS because you don’t need to pay from your pockets before you will access healthcare.”

Continuing, he added that lack of structural healthcare system has continued to fuel the leadership crisis in the sector, “when we properly implement NHIS, the issue of who should be the leader will become a thing of the past. Because professionals will only be paid for the job he or she is entitled to do, it will discourage such professional from doing what is not his or her own specialities.”

“Then the issue of who become the manager, boss, will become the managerial issue rather than professional issues. In advance country, those that really run healthcare industry are not healthcare professionals, they are administrators, just that it is an advantage when you have administrator who is also from the same field.” On his part, the Deputy Regional Operational Manager, Servier EMEA Division, Mr. Dominic Ayoola said that the essence of the leadership programme was to bridge the gap in the approach on how medicines are being accessed by patients in Nigeria.

He explained that “Servier leadership programme is an 18 months programme for our medical representatives. We look at Nigeria as a whole and we taught what exactly is missing in pharmaceutical industry and we discovered that the approach in which medicine is being accessed by patients and also the people who are the medical representatives are not being appreciated as it should be.”

“A lot of them need career growth in pharmaceutical industry, this was what brought about this 18 months career development programme for pharmacists and after that period they will have opportunity to interface with different international counterparts in the world and compete effectively.”

January 29, 2016
© 2016 Vanguard Media Limited, Nigeria

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