Poor and effective public healthcare management in most African countries has been attributed to the faulty service delivery model and structure that governments and decision-makers adopt, making Africa perpetually poor in providing universal health coverage.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Elkris Group, Dr Elliott Scott Omose, made this observation in Lagos at the weekend, adding that for the teeming poor and vulnerable population on the African continent to enjoy accessible public healthcare, the current structural loophole with universal health coverage in Africa and the glaring absence of Basic, Accessible, and Affordable (BAA) healthcare at the primary level must be fixed.
Dr. Omose, who is also the founder of PreDiagnosis International, an innovative public healthcare management non-profit organisation with footholds in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and other African countries, said Africa remains poor in terms of the provision of Universal health coverage, which, according to the United Nations, means all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when they need them, and where they need them, without incurring financial hardship.
Dr Omose further reminded the continent’s leaders and governments that the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2019 firmly restated that health is a precondition, outcome, and indicator for the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal.
“In Africa today, primary healthcare is non-existent as soon as you start to move away from the capital cities because research across the continent reveals an unhealthy pattern whereby pharmacies and local drug stores have been adopted as grassroots (primary) healthcare points by close to 70% of the vulnerable population on the continent.
“In rural Africa, a patient may never get to see or sit before a doctor more than five times in his or her lifetime. And that is usually the result of some intervention or outreach by an NGO.
For the rest of their lives, they are left at the mercy of pharmacy attendants and quacks as the only alternative to a GP,” he noted.
Dr. Omose stated further that, “across the continent, the general hospitals and teaching hospitals are continually overwhelmed because most of the available qualified doctors are concentrated in urban cities and towns while the rural areas have next to nothing, thereby leaving room for self-medication and also for quacks and other unqualified hands to tend citizens’ health needs in the rural, hard-to-reach areas.
So, most Public Health centres, especially in rural areas, rot away due to a lack of capable personnel to manage them.
He therefore called on governments across the continent to re-envision the primary healthcare management approach for citizens to derive the maximum expected value from the resources and funds expended annually on the provision of primary healthcare.
“There is an urgent need to embrace a more innovative model of primary health delivery with a grassroots-focused universal health coverage structure that is customised to suit the peculiarities of the African terrain.
Only this way can we begin to show seriousness in our attempt to bridge the widening gap between the vulnerable population and access to affordable basic (primary) healthcare
“PDI has developed and put to work a workable model for Essential Health Services, which offers subsidised, affordable, and accessible basic universal health coverage for rural and hard-to-reach areas of Africa.
As part of our contributions to help our continent overcome this unacceptable situation we find ourselves in, in 2020, we introduced, in Nigeria, the PDI Basic Universal Healthcare model, which has the ‘PDI 25-point Early Detection System’ as its strategic core.
“Early this year, we also introduced in Sierra Leone the PDI blue-print for a nationwide Basic (Primary) Healthcare Initiative which goes under the name of Community Basic (Primary) Healthcare Clinic– CBHC.
For the first time, the PDI Basic Universal Healthcare Model guarantees that the vulnerable African population can have full access to proper one-on-one doctor consultation services by way of a hybrid platform that ensures doctor’s appointments, a twenty-four-seven doctor hotline, a community mobile clinic, a community health hub, free prescription services, and other services all year round, twenty-four-seven, all for less than $15 a month, which is less than 30% of the actual cost for the concierge personal health management services.
“We are therefore showing that with considerably little financial outlay, Africa could do a lot more in managing the day-to-day personal basic healthcare needs of the vulnerable population,” he submitted.
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