Nigeria “The Land of Opportunity”, as is reverberating in the business circles, has earned laurels not only in the oil and non-oil sectors like agriculture, information and communication technology, trade and services; but also in the basic healthcare systems which form the backbone of sustainable growth and development.
The entire Sub-Saharan Africa is steadfast on the path of sustainable development and Nigeria has emerged as a leader from within, overtaking even South Africa in the continent with a current Nominal GDP of 568.508 Billion $ compared to South Africa’s 352.817 Billion $.
This is indeed a sense of pride and a motivation for the entire population in the region to showcase its potential. However, with this comes the responsibility to create a sustainable infrastructure for continuous development and continue its journey towards being a dominant economy in the world.
Health care Challenges in Nigeria
A major determinant to develop a viable and worthwhile development path is to prioritize health and educational sectors in the region. Senior health-care professionals in Nigeria are cognizant about the challenges facing health care services and fully recognize that the major gaps are due to a lack of awareness of major public health issues and a need for more skilled workforce.
Uncertainty still prevails in the Nigerian health care setup; causing further anamorphosis in development of the country. Effective training and utilization of health care professionals, use of evidence based sustainable health care systems, use of integrated data driven medical intelligence and surveillance systems, accountability, commitment, and ultimately a robust management enterprise will mitigate the risk prevailing in the current public health and advanced health care operations.
In the present hour there is an immense need to have an immensely dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable public health workforce to meet to the challenges faced in the region.
There is a paradigm shift in the understanding that who should or should not work in the public health arena. It was considered to be a specialized field where only the medical professionals could contribute. However, it is common knowledge now that for public health to thrive, it needs non-medical professionals as much as it requires the medical personnel. The interdisciplinary nature of current public health operations makes it possible for people from almost all educational backgrounds, expertise and skills base come together and contribute in the system and in doing so create a sustainable and exciting career for them as well.
Having said that, we can conclude that public health career has such a wide scope and applicability to accommodate a large section of the youth in nation building.
Public Health Education Initiatives
The James Lind Institute conducts online programs in public health for aspiring professional embarking on a public health career as well as for other professionals who express a growing interest in what is an important field emerging in the region.
The JLI Public Health and Health care programs increases outreach to those who want to make an effective difference in their country and understand best practices from experienced professionals around the world without having to leave their city or country. In addition, the diversity in expertise of participants from different specialties and different countries helps widen the way public health concepts are understood and provides the opportunity to network and explore new solutions to prevailing issues.
An increase in public health professionals in the region will go a long way in significantly improving its ability to deal with new challenges in timely, evidence based and scientific manner as they arise, such as the increasing threat of Ebola currently in West Africa.
The public health programs conducted by The James Lind Institute are designed to address the common ailments which carry a large mortality and morbidity in the region especially HIV, Malaria, Malnutrition, Tuberculosis, etc. These programs also inculcate the sense of continuous research in a public health professional teaching in-depth the research methodologies utilized in the public health arena.
James Lind Institute conducts a Master of Science in Health Management which brings with it ‘the best of both worlds’ – A “Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health Research” and a “European Masters in Health Management” The two together make a much stronger credential than an MPH (Masters in Public Health) both in-terms of recognition as well as the knowledge imparted.
Educational initiatives in public health do more good than just providing a trained workforce. Public health programs like the ones run by James Lind Institute develop a culture of continuous research and development, evidence based and scientific tools for personalized solutions and above all a positive social fabric for better health care.