A health expert, Dr Emmanuel Abanida, has urged healthcare providers to close ranks and evolve robust healthcare delivery system to touch people at the grassroots.
Abanida, a Senior Technical Advisor of Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) an NGO, made the call in Enugu during the Enugu State Task Shifting and Task Sharing (TSTS) Policy Dialogue.
The dialogue was organised by South-Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO), an NGO.
The goal of the TSTS policy is to meet universal health coverage nationwide.
The policy is meant to meet the health needs of the Nigerian population through the mobilisation of available human resources to ensure equity, accessibility and effectiveness in the delivery of essential healthcare services.
Abanida noted that TSTS policy, adopted by the Federal Government in 2014, would not be realisable if each health workers’ group continued to work in isolation.
“TSTS Policy, which was adopted and promoted by the Federal Government, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health partners, is the only way for us as a nation to fill the health manpower gap that will make universal and widespread health coverage possible.
It is obvious that we have shortfalls in qualified health manpower in various health fields while many qualified health workers will not want to work in the remote areas as well as our villages.
But we can harness some health practitioners at the lower level like the community health workers, community pharmacists and patent medicine dealers, who are always there with the people at the localities.
When we harness and train them by the means of task shifting and task sharing; more health workers can attend to our people in the localities by knowing what to do on time when health issues arise,” he said.
The expert noted that the policy, when fully implemented, would check the high level of infant and maternal mortality as well as avoidable deaths in rural localities where health facilities and manpower are limited.
According to him, the policy will lessen the suffering rural people go through in traveling from localities to the cities as well as attendance cost and risk.
Earlier, SSDO’s Project Director of TSTS, Dr Stanley Ilechukwu, said that the dialogue was meant to pool the leaders of the various health workers, unions and government together to brainstorm on the way forward for the policy.
“We believe at the end of the day, the various health professionals will seek a way to key into the TSTS and make healthcare delivery accessible and affordable to our people in the rural areas,’’ Ilechukwu said.
The facilitator of the dialogue, Dr Uche Agu, said that the policy would ensure improved health indicators for the state.
Agu, who is also the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Action Committee on AIDS (ENSACA), said that the policy, when fully domesticated, would assist the state to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on health and improve rural health in general.