It is undeniable that the health sector in Nigeria is in and has been in a state of decadence, from deterioration of public health facilities to brain drain, the sector like all other sectors have suffered from lack of adequate funding, pertinent research and lack of political will of successive governments to pay vital attention and develop people-centered policies, legislation and programs.
Following the expiration of the implementation timeline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which came to end in 2015, the international community through the United Nations in collaboration with the Heads of States and Governments of the 193 Member Nations, launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a new development agenda. This agenda, also known as Agenda 2030, is framed into 17 Goals, 169 Targets and 230 Indicators. Nigeria, being one of the countries that ratified and adopted the Agenda for implementation in September 2015, proceeded immediately to domesticate it.
For the purpose of this document, the focus is on SDG Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. In 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics conducted SGD baseline study that came out with a report that still is the most recent document containing status of health in Nigeria according to the SGD indicators. The report states maternal mortality rate in Nigeria as 243 per 100, 000 births, and proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel at about 58%. Under-5 mortality is high at 89 per1000 births; malaria incidence is approximately a 100 males per 1000 population and 96 females per 1000. One of the startling statistics is the number of people requiring interventions against neglected tropical diseases is over 15, 005, 034 for males and 15, 077, 209 for females. Number of deaths due to road traffic injuries is over 5000 for both male and female. These are just a few of the statistics reported, showing the magnitude of work still yet to be done for the SDGs to be met by the target year 2030 without “leaving anyone behind”.
The health program is focused on providing support for the total health and well-being of target beneficiaries of PF in order for them to thrive. Total health and well-being encompass the physical, mental, social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (according to WHO definition of health). The specific objectives include:
- Provide quality healthcare for beneficiaries of PF and their immediate family through health insurance scheme and partnerships with public and private institutions.
- Offer health education classes and health promotion activities to target beneficiaries, to help sustain their health.
- Strengthen health institutions in ongoing partnerships by providing needed equipment, through technology transfer and/or specialized training.
- Advocacy for better government health policies, legislation and programs to benefit the economically disadvantaged
1. Health Campaigns
PF strives to improve health and keep people healthy by changing personal behaviours. Education activities begin with a sensitization campaign to educate target community on the health insurance scheme. This helps to ensure full understanding and buy-in within the community and to prevent abuse.
In the short term the Program Coordinator with support of TEC volunteer medical team have developed a robust health education campaign that focuses on the social determinants of health and prevailing behavioural issues that impede health in target communities, e.g. drug use and abuse.
PF ensures that beneficiaries of PF program have timely access to good quality care when they need it. The strategy is to achieve this by developing a community social health insurance scheme run by the Foundation that pools funds mainly from the parent church (from individual members) and little contributions from beneficiaries of PF program. The estimated timeframe for registering a CSHI with NHIS and putting structures in place to run one is at least 1 year. Hence in the short term, PF is leveraging the NHIS running program Vital Contributor Social Health Insurance Program (VCSHIP) to provide health care to program participants. With VCSHIP, individuals pay an annual premium of N15, 000 and gain access to primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions.
3. Institutional Health Partnerships
PF has partnered with public health institutions particularly to provide secondary health care to program participants. Where gaps or needs are identified in providing care, PF will continue to work to provide innovative solutions to bridge the gaps and ensure continuity and sustainability of care. For instance, the problem of lack of constant oxygen supply in General Hospitals that lead to unnecessary deaths has been identified from benevolence activities of parent church – The Elevation Church. The goal here is to strengthen existing healthcare systems to ensure quality of care for PF beneficiaries and the wider community.