Nigeria: Health Care System
Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960. It is comprised of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria is home to approximately 380 different ethnic groups with 42 percent of the population residing in urban areas. Like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria experienced a period of civil unrest immediately following its independence.
Health Care System
The public health care system in Nigeria is loosely based on the British system. Shortly after its independence, the Nigerian government began to expand health services and the way in which it is organized: village level, district level, and local government. The National Health Policy and Strategy to Achieve Health for All Nigerians (1988) guaranteed primary health services to all Nigerians. The following goals were established:
- Increase health education
- Promote proper nutrition
- Family planning
- Improve maternal and child health services
- Increase immunization
- Implement prevention programs and control of endemic/epidemic diseases
- Accessible treatment for common diseases and injuries
The Nigerian government has not been able to implement the majority of goals outlined in the National Health Policy of 1988 due to lack of financial resources. The government administers the public health care system and trains medical personnel to serve in tertiary and health clinics operating on the state level. Local governments are responsible for the operation of health facilities within their region.
St. Monica’s Health Clinic
St. Monica’s Health Clinic is located in Yakoko, Northern Nigeria. The clinical leader of St. Monica discusses the objectives of the clinic and the importance of the clinic within the community. Note the emphasis on maternal child health in the video. What are the implications of the clinic potentially losing its funding?
The leading causes of mortality in Nigeria are infectious, parasitic, and diarrheal diseases. Although diseases such as malaria, measles, and diarrhea continue to account for the majority of deaths, other infectious diseases, like cerebrospinal meningitis, yellow fever, and Lassa fever, have steadily increased (Federal Ministry of Health, 2000). Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer have become more prevalent within the last decade. HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death in Nigeria.
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