The Nigerian health sector: its challenge on maternal and child mortality.
Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with over 160million people, Male population is greater, with 85,898,305 men, representing 50.87% of the total, compared to 82,935,471 or 49.12% women(1). The life expectancy is 53/55 for male/female respectively, whereby the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 was 5.3%, while in the same year the total expenditure on health per capita was 139$(2). With this large growing population, and the increasing life expectancy, the GDP is expected to continually rise as well. The recurrent expenditure on health as at 2008 was 98 million Nigeria Naira (3).
Nigerian health system
The government created the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was launched in 1999 to ensure that every Nigerian has access to good health care services (4). In a bid to strengthen the health system, National health policy (NHP) in 2006 was embraced to create a convincing health financing system capable of meeting the goals of improved health status of Nigerians; financial protection of citizens against the cost of illness; fair financing of health services; and responsiveness to the citizens’ expectations. This plan includes the implementation of a re-designed National Health Insurance System (NHIS).
However, since implementation of the National Health Insurance System, only 5 million Nigerians can readily access care through the NHIS. Use of NHIS services is lower among low-income groups and young people, which is because the programs that target these populations still have not been introduced or fully incorporated into the NHIS system. Thus, while it appears that coverage has been extended greatly to the population, there are still about 46 million Nigerians (4), with no access at all to organized modern health insurance. The health system has not changed, with out of pocket health model being used in Nigeria, which is usually not affordable for patients of low social economic class.
Current health status/challenges
Health system has several features, most importantly, improve health conditions of citizens, prolong and improve life (5).
-The burden of child mortality in Nigeria is high with about 2,300 under-five year olds lost (Preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria (24%), pneumonia(20%), diarrhea(16%), measles(6%) and HIV/AIDS(5%), where malnutrition is the underlying cause of morbidity and mortality(60%) of a large proportion of these children) and 145 women of childbearing age die every day making the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world(6).
Health care providers
-The increasing populations of citizens is high in contrast to the diminishing number of health care workers, with approximately four doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants (7), and huge demand in adequate health care services, particularly those residing at the rural areas with a population of...