AKURE- Dr. Elliott Omose, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Elkris Group, has called on African leaders to fix the poor and ineffective state of public healthcare management in the continent.
Omose, who is also the founder of PreDiagnosis International (PDI), a non-profit public healthcare management with footholds in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia and a few other African countries, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Akure.
According to him, the healthcare management in Africa has remained in this poor state due to the faulty service delivery structure that governments and decision makers adopt.
He, therefore, warned that the current structural loophole in the health coverage in Africa must be fixed for the teeming poor and vulnerable population in the continent to really enjoy accessible public healthcare.
While pointing out that the current health coverage in Africa lacks Basic, Accessible and Affordable (BAA) healthcare at primary level, the healthcare expert said the continent remained poor in terms of provision of Universal health coverage.
“According to the United Nations, BAA means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when they need them and where they need them, without incurring financial hardship.
“The United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2019, strongly restated that Health is a precondition, outcome and indicator for social, economic and environmental dimensions of UN’s 2030 sustainable development goal.
“In Africa today, primary healthcare is non-existent as soon as you start to move away from the capital cities.
“Research across the continent reveals an unhealthy pattern whereby pharmacies and local drugs stores have been adopted as grassroots (primary) healthcare points by close to 70 per cent of the vulnerable population in the continent,” Omode said.
He condemned a situation where, in rural Africa, a patient might never get to see or sit before a doctor more than five times in his or her life-time, saying “this is usually as a result of some intervention outreach by NGOs”.
He said most people at the grassroots are usually left at the mercy of pharmacy attendants and quacks as the only alternative to doctors throughout their lives.
Omose said that the general hospitals and teaching hospitals across the continent “are continually overwhelmed because most of the available qualified doctors are concentrated in urban cities and towns while the rural areas have next to nothing”.
“This usually leaves room for self-medication and also for quacks and other unqualified hands to tend citizens’ health needs in the rural, hard to reach areas.
“So, most Public Health Centres, especially in rural areas, rot away due to the lack of capable personnel to man them.
“Moreover, before the vulnerable class make it to those facilities, because of the huge infrastructure deficit, majority of their cases are already beyond help,” Omose said.
He, therefore, called on governments across the continent to re-envision primary healthcare management approach in order for citizens to derive maximum value from the resources and funds expended annually on provision of primary healthcare.
According to him, there is an urgent need to embrace a more innovative model of primary health delivery with grassroots-focused universal health coverage structure that is customised to suit the peculiarities of the African terrain.
He said this was the only way African leaders could begin to show seriousness in the attempt to try to bridge the widening gap between the teaming vulnerable population and access to affordable basic (primary) healthcare.
He disclosed that his non-profit organisation, PDI, had developed and put to work a workable model for Essential Health Services which offer subsidised, affordable and accessible basic universal health coverage for rural and hard-to-reach areas of Africa.
“As part of our contributions to help our continent overcome this unacceptable situation in which we find ourselves currently, in 2020 we introduced, in Nigeria, the PDI Basic Universal Healthcare Model which has the ‘PDI 25-point Early detection System’ as its strategic core.
“Early this year, we also introduced in Sierra Leone the PDI blue-print for a nationwide Basic (Primary) Healthcare Initiative which goes under the name of Community Basic (Primary) Healthcare Clinic – CBHC.
“For the first time, the PDI Basic Universal Healthcare Model guarantees that the vulnerable African population can have full access to proper one-on-one doctor consultation services.
“This is by way of a hybrid platform that ensures doctor’s appointment, twenty-four-seven doctor hotline, community mobile clinic, community health hub, free prescription services and other services all year round.
“All these for less than US$15 a month, which is less than 30 per cent of actual cost for the concierge personal health management services.
“We are, therefore, showing that with considerably very little financial outlay, Africa could do a lot more in managing the day-to-day personal basic healthcare needs of the vulnerable population,” he said. (NAN)