Nigerian Government Moves to Decentralize Treatment of Chronic Diseases

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As part of an on-going reform in the health sector and vis-à-vis the World Health Organization’s estimation that 24% of illness related deaths in Nigeria is now caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primary healthcare centres are undergoing re-positioning to be able to also treat these chronic diseases. This will give more needy Nigerians access to such crucial services.

The primary healthcare centres are mostly in rural communities and are meant to improve healthcare at the grassroots through diagnosis and treatments of common diseases. In order to fully achieve this, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has announced that as part of efforts to decongest the nation’s hospitals and provide access of greater number of Nigerians to certain specialized services, the treatment of chronic diseases would also be available at the primary healthcare centres soon.

As part of the activities marking the World Health Day 2016, the minister further stated: “Part of our efforts to increase access to services required for the management of diabetes and ensure a sustainable financing plan is in play. We aim to incorporate the management of chronic illnesses into the benefit package to be delivered to Nigerians at the primary care level.”

Nigeria is currently undergoing an epidemiological transition, and the rise in prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) has implications on demands for health care services. The health system hence needs to be positioned to respond effectively to these new challenges and be able to offer quality services towards the management of the associated co-morbidities of NCDs.”

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