Nigeria is the seventh most popular country in Africa facing challenging health problems that needs to be addressed using public health principles. Department of Public Health in Nigeria formulates public health guidelines, policies and support to implement and evaluate health surveillance, promotion and disease prevention programme.
Public Health Problems
The major public health issues faced are poor sanitation and hygiene, control of vector borne diseases, maternal and infant mortality, disease surveillance, infectious and non-communicable diseases, etc. Other health issues that Nigeria faces are health insurance, sewage disposal, water supply, air or noise pollution, solid waste disposal, environmental radiation and degradation, disaster management, doctor population ratio, population-bed ratio, population per health facility, access and utilization of care, improper coordination of funds, health financing, incessant doctors strike, disease surveillance, smoking of tobacco, rapid urbanization, alcohol abuse, road traffic injuries, etc. The collaborative effort of Nigerian Government, non-government and Donor Agencies is not sufficient to provide an effective and efficient healthcare delivery.
Some of these problems or challenges include both emerging and re-emerging health problems such as HIV/AIDS pandemic, poor quality and inequitable healthcare services, inadequate payment and irrational appointment of health officials among others. Public health disease such as Cholera, Cerebral Spinal Meningitis, Lassa Fever, Measles, Yellow Fever as well as other disease prone to epidemic like plague, malaria, tuberculosis, pertussis, pneumonia, onchocerciasis, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B require a specialized mitigation intervention in the population. The need to design adequate and efficient programs to address Nigerian health issue and provide an improved health status is important.
Public Health Programs
There exists national health policies and programs targeting Immunization, Reproductive Health, Blood Transfusion, Adolescent health, Food and Nutrition, Child Health, Drug, Food hygiene and safety, Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, Control of Malaria, HIV/ AIDS, Onchocersiesis, Tuberculosis and Leprosy. Overall policy objectives of the national health policy include issues of accessibility, equity, quality, effectiveness, affordability and efficiency. The major thrusts of the policies relate to issues of National Healthcare Resource, National Health information system, National Health Systems and Management, partners of Health development, Health research and National Health care laws.
The primary health care of Nigerian health care system needs to effectively solve the public health problems. Public Health related cost effective interventions for non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health are hardly being used. Inter-sectoral or ministerial collaboration and cooperation still remains a major issue. The area of health system financing has yet to meet with enduring and tangible actions from the successive governments that have occasionally committed to this sector. An integrative public health approach emerging in Nigeria has enhanced window of opportunity to deal with public health problems taking into account the cultural, social and economic health determinants and structuring an efficient healthcare system as a channel for the delivery of health services.
Various programs in Nigeria are recognised for disease prevention and control that focus on emergency planning, preparedness and promotion of health in Nigerian population. The government intends to reduce the incidence and disability of disease with emergency planning, surveillance, disease prevention and control as the main responsibility.
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