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The Nigerian health care system: Need for integrating adequate medical intelligence and surveillance systems

The research paper below published in the J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 470–478 and online on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows the great and urgent need for an improvement in the measures in place to safeguard lives and improve the delivery and monitoring of healthcare in Nigeria.  This is of utmost importance in improving medicines availability and security of lives in the country. 

Register NOWAs an important element of national security, public health not only functions to provide adequate and timely medical care but also track, monitor, and control disease outbreak. The Nigerian health care had suffered several infectious disease outbreaks year after year. Hence, there is need to tackle the problem.

The Nigerian health care system is poorly developed. No adequate and functional surveillance systems are developed. To achieve success in health care in this modern era, a system well grounded in routine surveillance and medical intelligence as the backbone of the health sector is necessary, besides adequate management couple with strong leadership principles. Health care, medical intelligence, medical surveillance systems, Nigeria, Nigerian health care system, public health .

The Nigerian health care has suffered several down-falls. Despite Nigerian’s strategic position in Africa, the country is greatly underserved in the health care sphere. Health facilities (health centers, personnel, and medical equipments) are inadequate in this country, especially in rural areas.While various reforms have been put forward by the Nigerian government to address the wide ranging issues in the health care system, they are yet to be implemented at the state and local government area levels.[3,6] According to the 2009 communique of the Nigerian national health conference, health care system remains weak as evidenced by lack of coordination, fragmentation of services, dearth of resources, including drug and supplies, inadequate and decaying infrastructure, inequity in resource distribution, and access to care and very deplorable quality of care.

Special OfferProvision of timely information aimed at combating possible health menace among many other things is an important function of public health. Hence, inadequate tracking techniques in the public health sector can lead to huge health insecurity, and hence endanger national security, etc. For decades ago, communicable diseases outbreak was a threat not only to lives of individuals but also national security. Today it is possible to track outbreaks of diseases and step up medical treatment and preventive measures even before it spreads over a large populace. Medical and epidemiological surveillance, besides adequate health care delivery, are essential functions of public health agencies whose mandate is to protect the public from major health threats, including communicable diseases outbreak, disaster outbreak, and bioterrorism. To avoid the various threats and communication lapses to strengthen the health work force planning, management, and training which can have a positive effect on the health sector performance, one requires timely and accurate medical information from a wide range of sources.   Source:

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