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To cushion the potential negative impacts of the persistent underfunding in the health sector, efficient health financing and health insurance schemes are required to provide financial risk protection for Nigerians. Image source: technext.ng

Editor’s Note: This week’s thought leadership piece comes from Dr Kemi of RelianceHMO, an HMO provider in Nigeria. She works to explain the different types of health insurance plans that are available for Nigerians, and highlights what everyone should take into consideration when choosing a health plan.

Despite a consensus with other heads of African Union countries at the Abuja Declaration of April 2001 to appropriate and release at least 15% of every fiscal year’s budget to healthcare, Nigeria’s health system has been historically underfunded. As a result, more than 70 percent of money spent on healthcare in Nigeria comes from individuals’ pockets, especially, at point-of-care. …


By Chibuike Alagboso (Lead Writer)

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The REDISSE grant from the NCDC helped improve community testing exercises across the 27 local governments of Imo State. Photo Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

As at January 12, 2021, Nigeria has had over a hundred thousand confirmed cases of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. The pandemic has continued to challenge healthcare systems across states, forcing them to innovate as they learn, adapt and respond to the disease. Responding to various aspects of the pandemic is also helping to build the capacities of young public health practitioners, preparing them to handle bigger responsibilities in global health security.

Even though Lagos State currently has the greatest burden of infection with 36,875 laboratory confirmed cases, the low numbers recorded in certain states may not be a reflection of their response efforts. In Imo State, 801 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, 39 are currently being managed while 746 have recovered and been discharged. The state has also recorded 16 COVID-19 related deaths.

As with other states, one of the challenges Imo State has faced in responding to the pandemic is a lack of funding. Funding plays a critical role in every pillar of the COVID-19 response. Imo State Epidemiologist, Hyacinth Egbuna, says it’s also important to extend funding to other infectious diseases monitored under the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system. …


By Aloysius Chidebere Ugwu (Lead Writer)

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Since our baby has come, I have entered another phase of support to both my wife and baby. Photo Source: Aloysius Chidiebere Ugwu

In January 2020, in the middle of the dry season known as harmattan in Nigeria, I was in Kano state performing my duties as a health advocate when I received news from my wife which redefined my plans for the next nine months. “Babe, I think my body is changing, I bought a pregnancy rapid test kit to test my urine and it showed double lines,” she said to me on the phone. As a microbiologist, I understood the meaning of the rapid test reading. However, it required another level of confirmation by a doctor. From that moment, I began to have mixed feelings about the situation.

I had closely watched some of my friends and colleagues who have children and seen how strong the bond of their relationships have been. For me it was clear that things will no longer be the same, and if the confirmatory test is positive, my time and resources will have to be proportionally re-distributed to accommodate a new reality. It was a reality I was looking forward to.

When I returned from Kano, we went to the hospital for a confirmatory test and follow up instructions if the result remained positive. The situation became clearer a few minutes after her blood sample was tested — she was indeed pregnant. Our joy knew no bounds, and for me, fatherhood was about to set in. …


By Bashar Abubakar (Lead Writer)

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Tayi PHC sits on an open expanse in Tayi rural community of Minna, the Niger state capital. Photo Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

Habiba Aliyu, 20, gave birth to her first child in 2019 while preparing to begin her journey as a health worker. As a student at a health training institution in Niger State, Aliyu wants to become a Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW). ‘’All my life I wanted to be a health worker. That is my dream and I want to achieve it,’’ she said, adding that she also knew exactly how she wanted to raise her family. ‘’Just before my due date I discussed with my husband about spacing our children and he agreed.”

Aliyu says she learnt about child spacing while attending antenatal care at a health facility in the area she and her husband lived before. They recently moved to a new community called Tayi in Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger state. Thankfully, Tayi also has an adequate Primary Health Centre (PHC) where she could continue antenatal, and subsequently give birth. Forty days after she delivered her child, Aliyu started using family planning commodities at Tayi PHC and has continued using them since. ‘’This has allowed me to continue my education without worrying about pregnancy,’’ she added while on morning duty at the PHC under the supervision of Abdullahi Machi, the facility’s deputy officer-in-charge. While school is on break, Aliyu goes to the PHC to gain practical skills on primary health care delivery, including contraception. …


By Beti Baiye & Patience Adejo (Lead Writers)

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Image Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

It is not surprising that the fight against COVID-19 has introduced a great deal of military metaphors in the media globally. The world has been at war with a virus and from the outset, healthcare workers of different cadres have been at the frontline of defense between the people and the virus. They are the ones who must report to work in the face of known and unknown threats to their physical health and this has earned them the term — Frontline Workers.

In military terminology, the front line is the position closest to the area of conflict of an armed force’s personnel and equipment, usually referring to land forces. When a front between opposing sides forms, the front line is the area where each side’s forces are engaged in conflict. In pandemic’s context, health workers became the real front liners when, while the rest of the world retreated to their homes to stay safe, they stepped out to contain the spread of the disease, care for affected patients and embark on research to better understand COVID-19. …


By Aisha Gambo (Lead Writer)

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Mrs Habiba Luka coordinating the panel discussion titled ‘Direct FP commodity procurement by sub-national government, a Pioneer’’. Photo Source: dRPC

Kaduna state has gotten a waiver to procure Family Planning (FP) commodities as their demands for FP commodities increases. This makes Kaduna the first and only state with permission to directly procure family planning commodities in Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board (KPHCB), Hamza Abubakar, made this known during the Kaduna state primary health care board Reproductive Health (RH) Coordinators’ review meeting held in Kaduna on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

The meeting was held to update the Local Government RH coordinators and partners on family planning programmes, logistics and issues arising from the last reporting period. The goal of the meeting was also to give the RH coordinators and partners update on antenatal care and skilled deliveries as well as Adolescent Reproductive Health (ASRH). …


By Dr. Chibugo Okoli (Guest Writer)

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The RICOM3 Project is helping mothers to deliver safely in Nigeria. Photo Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

The maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria is estimated at 512 per 100,000 live births whilst non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for 27% of total deaths in 2008. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has demonstrated its commitment to address NCDs via the creation of an NCDs division, the development of a national non-communicable diseases (NCDs) multi-sectorial plan (2019–2025) and the inclusion of coverage for diabetes and hypertension (HTN) as part of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). There has been limited attention, however, paid to the unique vulnerabilities of women of reproductive age (WRA) with NCDs and associated risk factors, despite the substantial burden of NCD-related ‘indirect causes’ of maternal mortality and morbidity (MMM) among women of reproductive age. A systemic approach to improving maternal health needs to address the global burden of NCDs contributing to maternal morbidity and mortality.


By Aloysius Ugwu & Michael Atima (Lead Writers)

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Image credit: Nigeria Health Watch

When the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, said “Without health, people have nothing; without health, we have nothing as humanity”, he meant a world where everyone can achieve healthy and productive lives no matter who they are or where they live.

On December 7, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) brought the media and other stakeholders together to inform Nigerians what it is doing to achieve the health agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which is to improve and provide better health services to Nigerians. …


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Image credit: Nigeria Health Watch

In August 2020, Nigeria became the last African country to be declared free from wild poliovirus. This was achieved by relentless vaccination efforts across urban and rural communities, including awareness campaigns and deployment of personnel to communities to carry out vaccination programmes. An underlying, but essential enabler of this success story was the use of location technology to carefully map out areas where there were outbreaks, and that were most in need of these vaccines. …


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Image credit: Nigeria Health Watch

Editor’s Note: This week’s Thought Leadership piece comes from Women in Global Health (WGH) Nigeria, an organisation that was established to bring visibility and recognition of Nigerian women, shape global health programming and advocacy, and reform policy and in communities in Nigeria and the diaspora. They analyse the reasons why more women are not seen in leadership positions in Nigeria’s health sector, and proffer solutions for what the country must do to change this narrative.

In many sectors in Nigeria, there is a considerable lack of female presence at the helm of affairs, and the health sector is no exception.

Even though women in the health workforce constitute over 60% of the health workforce, the majority of these women in the workforce are concentrated by weight in informal, low-status and low-paid “care” roles. …

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Nigeria Health Watch

We use informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria. nigeriahealthwatch.com

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