Ask Nigeria Header Logo

Nigeria not ready for epidemic–CEO

Photo of author

By Abraham Adekunle

NSSF boss Chinye-Nwoko comments on Nigeria's Healthcare Crisis.

In an interview with Mrs. Oghenefejiro Chinye-Nwoko, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), the stark realities of Nigeria’s healthcare sector come to light. With a mission to ensure every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare, Chinye-Nwoko sheds light on the achievements, challenges, and urgent needs within the country’s healthcare landscape. Reflecting on NSSF’s endeavours, Chinye-Nwoko highlights significant strides in supporting healthcare initiatives. Notably, the organization provided crucial financial support to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), facilitating the scaling up of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Through these efforts, over 12 million individuals were reached, with 4.9 million receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, 12,000 healthcare workers were trained in safe immunization practices, bolstering the nation’s response to the pandemic. Beyond pandemic response, NSSF is committed to addressing long-standing challenges in healthcare delivery. Through projects like “Strengthening the Conduct and Supervision of Optimized Outreach Sessions for Routine Immunization,” the organization aims to reduce under-5 mortalities resulting from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Achievements and challenges in healthcare accessibility.

By enhancing leadership, coordination, and monitoring of immunization outreaches, NSSF strives to ensure vaccine accessibility to underserved communities, thereby improving health outcomes nationwide. Moreover, youth engagement remains a cornerstone of NSSF’s advocacy efforts. By mobilizing over 2,000 youths in advocacy programs, the organization promotes grassroots involvement in shaping healthcare policies and programs, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability within communities. Despite these commendable efforts, Nigeria grapples with a critical healthcare challenge: the exodus of medical personnel, exacerbating the scarcity of healthcare professionals.

Chinye-Nwoko delves into the multifaceted factors driving this brain drain, ranging from poor remuneration and inadequate infrastructure to outdated policies and limited professional development opportunities. To reverse this trend, comprehensive strategies are imperative. Chinye-Nwoko underscores the importance of accurate data collection and mapping of healthcare workers and population health needs. This informed approach enables targeted resource allocation and strategic workforce planning, essential for optimizing healthcare delivery nationwide. Furthermore, governmental commitment to healthcare financing and infrastructure development is paramount.

Preparedness for epidemics and pandemics, addressing rising drug prices.

Also, by increasing budgetary allocations to healthcare, enhancing welfare packages for medical personnel, and fostering collaboration between government and healthcare stakeholders, Nigeria can mitigate the factors fuelling healthcare migration, promoting workforce retention and professional satisfaction. Assessing Nigeria’s readiness for public health crises, Chinye-Nwoko delivers a sobering verdict: the nation remains ill-prepared for the next epidemic. While commendable progress has been made, critical gaps persist, posing significant risks to public health and national stability. A midterm Joint External Evaluation conducted in 2020 revealed improvements in Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness, yet challenges remain.

Enhancing risk communication, strengthening legislative frameworks, and fortifying emergency response mechanisms are vital steps to bolstering resilience against future epidemics. Research and development also emerge as essential pillars of health security. Despite challenges such as poor infrastructure and limited research capacity, Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing health security capacities through initiatives like the Joint External Evaluation underscores its dedication to addressing public health emergencies effectively. Amidst escalating drug prices, exacerbated by currency depreciation and market inefficiencies, Chinye-Nwoko advocates for systemic reforms to enhance affordability and accessibility of essential medications.

Related Article: Experts fear epidemic as open defecation rise

Strengthening regulatory agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), promoting local drug manufacturing, and streamlining distribution channels are imperative steps toward sustainable healthcare delivery. In all, Chinye-Nwoko’s insights underscore the urgent need for holistic reforms to revitalize Nigeria’s healthcare sector. From addressing workforce challenges and epidemic preparedness to promoting local drug manufacturing and enhancing regulatory oversight, concerted efforts are essential to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians. As stakeholders unite in pursuit of this shared vision, Nigeria can pave the path toward a healthier, more resilient future for its citizens.

Related Link

Wikipedia: Website

The content on is given for general information only and does not constitute a professional opinion, and users should seek their own legal/professional advice. There is data available online that lists details, facts and further information not listed in this post, please complete your own investigation into these matters and reach your own conclusion. accepts no responsibility for losses from any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of content contained in this website and/or other websites which may be linked to this website.

Fact Checking Tool -