The need to rejig the bureaucratic process in the healthcare sector to enhance quality service delivery without wasting time formed the thrust of discussion in an event, Y2020 Health Forum, put together by the Lagos State Government at the weekend.
The event titled “Reform of Bureaucratic Process: Creativity and Innovation in the Health Care System, held at the Orchid Hotels, Lekki, Lagos had in attendance Several Commissions in the Health Sector.
Speaking at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu stated that it has become imperative to introduce new creative ideas, initiatives and innovation that will better enhance the healthcare system in the country.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, was of the opinion that Lagos cannot afford to have a healthcare system that is drawn back by unnecessary bureaucracies and red-tapism as such would result in disastrous outcomes which include degeneration of ailments, complication of diseases and loss of lives.
While reassuring of his administration’s commitment on healthcare, Sanwo-Olu noted “We understand the importance of an efficient healthcare system. This is why we have included health as one of our topmost priority on the T.HE.M.E.S agenda at the inception of our administration.”
“The goal of health pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda is to ensure the provision of efficiency and effective healthcare delivery to Lagosians and to make healthcare more seamless for the good people of Lagos.”
Speaking further, the Governor disclosed that it is for the above reasons his administration is aggressively pushing a number of policies such as the Lagos Health Insurance Scheme, EKOTELEMED and a couple of others that will facilitate accessible and efficient healthcare service delivery and that his administration has prioritized training of medical personnel within and outside the country.
He urged the healthcare providers not to relent in their effort saying “As we continue to do our best in terms of upgrading our health infrastructure, equipping our health facilities with state of that art equipment and also giving due attention to is dues of welfare.”
Earlier in his charge, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi stated that the government is trying to put in place digital platforms for Lagos State, but there are others issues such as infrastructure, manpower deficiency, manpower bypassing appropriate process and budget deficiency.
He further stated that budget deficiency is not just about the amount of money allocated, we must be able to confirm the ability of your ministry to draw out its budget and also to be able to measure what the budget has done and what impact it has added.
Going forward, he noted that the health budget will be reviewed and to looked into it for areas that keep failing or doing badly, for year after year there is a certain segment that do not perform, “there must be able a reason why that centre is not performing, either the government does not have an appetite for it or it needs to be looked at in a more critical way or finding an alternative means of achieving what its suppose to do”.
Similarly, in his remarks, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola stated that it does appear to my him that the bureaucratic process of Government is considered a hindrance to the critical innovations that are required in achieving qualitative health care service delivery.
Thus, Nigeria being one of several major health-staff-exporting countries in Africa as a result of inadequate infrastructure and incomparable compensation packages, a sizeable number of healthcare professionals are lured away to developed countries in search of fulfilling and lucrative positions”.
He mentioned other factors include lack of professional autonomy, poor supervision and support, long working hours, unsafe workplace, inadequate career structures, poor remuneration, poor access to supplies, tools and information and limited access to professional development opportunities.
Stating some of the interventions undertaken by the government, the head of Service noted that “reservation of specific percentage of staff quarters to healthcare workers, approval of 40 percent rebate on payment for lands and housing, priority consideration for allocation of official vehicles, approval of increased hazard allowance for medical workers, ongoing development of the permanent site of the State College of Health Technology, upgrade of the Lagos State School of Nursing to the status of tertiary institution and approval of automatic staff replacement policy for the health sector”.
“To make Lagos as a reference point, our government is now trying to rejig the bureaucratic process cable of enhancing performances not only in the health sector but also in every area of governance”