Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Health Research Influences Political Manifestos in Nigeria

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Health Research Influences Political Manifestos in Nigeria

Article excerpt

The report of a Nigerian health systems scientist on progress in addressing political obstacles to equity in access to health care services in south-western Nigeria, received a warm welcome at the seventh meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research in Geneva, 2-5 December.

"It really is a legitimate area of research in and of itself," said Dr Tikki Pang, Director of WHO's Research Policy and Cooperation department. "How do you connect and talk to the politicians and decision-makers?" he asked.

Dr Lola Dare who works for the African Council for Sustainable Health Development--a partnership between African civil society, governments, private sector and development partners--and a team of researchers have begun to provide the answer. Dare and her team have been studying access to health care services in Nigeria's Ondo State, an oil and mineral producing region with a population of 3-4 million.

They found that the number of general hospitals available to Ondo's wealthier population was 2-3 times as many as the figure recommended by the national health care plan. For the poor, however, there were only one-tenth of the recommended number of dispensaries, health clinics and health posts.

The Commissioner of Health for Ondo State, Dr Oluremi Akinbobola described the disparity. "We have many private hospitals in Nigeria ... but the poor have no access to them," he said. "We have 203 political [constituencies] in Ondo and 289 basic health centres. Yet there are 54 [constituencies] without a single basic health care centre," he said. …

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