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How Poor Data Collection Affect Studies In Nigeria’s Health System

 By Anthonia Obokoh
Poor data collection and researches are slowing down Nigeria’s ambitions to put its estimated 180 million population under the universal coverage, making the country healthcare system lose out in advanced medical technologies, leading to increase in the cost of healthcare.

Lack of technological advancement is a huge infrastructural gap in the sector which remains a major hindrance limiting the growth and development of the healthcare system.

A lot has been written on these important issues bordering on healthcare provision in Nigeria which stem from poor health infrastructure, dearth of data, weak administration, research and funding by the government.

Experts say the need for improved healthcare system in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised, adding that in strengthening the healthcare system, collection of data and researches are benchmark for feasibility studies in the system.

Collection of data and research plays a major role in all sectors and there is a need for the health sector in Nigeria to tap into it for easier health indices, tracking disease prevalence, measuring mortality and morbidity, tackling challenges of public health emergencies and enhancing the county’s preparedness and responsiveness to epidemics through prevention, detection and control.

“Information technology and communication (ICT) will help Nigeria’s healthcare system reduce the challenges of limited data and information collected which demography, financial and medical history will be analysed. We need a robust ICT and it is very essential we get it right in this country” Jide Idris, commissioner for health, Lagos state, said.

Isaac Adewole, the minister of health, stated recently that “Nigeria has already adopted a task shifting policy, it is no news that we struggled over the years with high diseases burden, the country must invest in collection of data so as to implement feasibility.”

“Unfortunately, there is paucity of data to inform our interventions. We must invest in collection of data to inform decision making and implement feasible and evidence-based control programmes for diseases at the country and regional levels,” Adewole added.

Babatunde Salako, director-general of Nigerian institute of medical research said, “if we do not fund research in Nigeria, we cannot expect innovations and significant development, that is what other advanced countries has done, they invest a lot in research and ask questions”

But what we do in Nigeria is that we use the information that comes from them, our environment is not the same, genetic makeup is not the same and so it might not be correct always to infer from the results of their own research and domesticate it for us in Nigeria.

it might work for us to an extent and to large extent it might not work, so that is the reason why each country need to fund research for scientist or researchers to research in diseases in their own population because peculiarities may come out of that, and that may just be the single most important thing to address to be able to either bring out the incidence of such diseases and reduce their ability to cause mortality, and until we realize this fact, and the nation begins to say “ok we know we can’t fund the job but we will give something significant enough to use to make a difference”, and we can ask questions about what has come out of this funding which can happen every year.

*Source: Businessday
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