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Nigeria Pledges Digital Transformation of Healthcare System and Research Funding Boost

In a significant move to enhance healthcare outcomes, the Nigerian government has announced plans to modernize the nation’s healthcare system while concurrently ramping up research funding. During a press briefing outlining the ministry’s agenda for the sector, Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, emphasized the critical importance of digitalizing the healthcare infrastructure to ensure the availability of accurate and trustworthy data for both local and international use.

Mr. Alausa stated, “We need to begin to make sure that the data we collect are accurate, and they are validated, they can be trusted, internationally, and locally and can be used to deliver care to our people. And then once you have validated data that you can trust, you can begin to see the indices where you are getting better, where you are doing well, and where you are not doing well. Then you can recheck your interventions to improve those outcomes.”

As part of the digitalization process, the government plans to implement a national electronic medical record system that will unify all primary health centers (PHCs) and hospitals onto a single platform. Mr. Alausa further elaborated, stating, “Then as we move into the future, we will encourage each state government to use the same platform.”

Addressing the potential for improving the nation’s healthcare sector, Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, acknowledged the existing challenges, including leadership issues, which can be addressed through collective efforts. Mr. Pate expressed gratitude for the dedication of approximately 400,000 healthcare workers who are tirelessly delivering quality services under challenging circumstances.

“We are blessed to have about 400,000 health workers who are working under difficult circumstances to deliver quality health services to the people. We appreciate them, but there is a lot more we can do in the health sector,” he affirmed. “We will do this together…the federal government, state government, MDAs, as well as the private sector.”

The government is also committed to reinforcing the regulatory capacities of health institutions, such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to ensure health security and the effective containment of disease outbreaks.

In a significant development, Mr. Pate highlighted plans to revitalize research institutions across the country. He emphasized the need to provide more substantial funding and resources to support the work of numerous professors. “We will unleash our clinical research. We will put more money into research which will make us more dependent on our pharmaceuticals,” he affirmed. Minister Alausa echoed this sentiment, asserting that the health system will undergo comprehensive regulation, and research institutes will collaborate to fulfill their intended roles. “We have a lot of research institutions, but everybody is working independently. We will rejig our research institutions, make them work collaboratively, and get them to do what they are meant to do,” he concluded.

This transformative endeavor promises to usher in a new era of healthcare in Nigeria, driven by data-driven decision-making and robust research initiatives, all aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of the nation’s citizens.

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