By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
In its efforts to increase efficiency in the healthcare services in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health with support of the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation and Palladium has inaugurated the health facility registry of Nigeria.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who inaugurated the system in Abuja on Monday, explained that the registry is an electronic information system that would allow the public access up-to-date information on health facilities as contained in the master facility list.
According to Prof. Adewole, a master health facility list was a complete listing of all health facilities in a country with information on the signature and service domain elements.
He said that the signature domain provides information on the health facility by location and unique identifier, while the service domain elements indicate the kind of services provided by the health facility.
Adewole said that the registry would permit each state and the Federal Capital Territory to carry out constant management of the list of health facilities within its jurisdiction while the master facility list will support government determine accurate data on the number of health facilities in the country and their status.
He said that the registry would be of great interest to researchers and partners, stressing that the data to be generated from the registry would improve health sector in the country.
While stressing that the data generation was one of the important components in repositioning the healthcare sector in the country, the minister said that in recent past, government had worked actively on improving the sector by developing policies, strategic plans, and funding scheme, which is the basic health care provision fund.
“For us critically, there are three components of healthcare structure which includes, the infrastructure, human resources and data and without data nothing is happening; this is why this is important.
“When this system is fully developed, we will be able to know how many healthcare facilities we have, how many of them are actually functional.
“Building alone is not a hospital; there are buildings across the country with sign post that says specialist hospitals, general hospitals or primary health care centres,’’ he said.
The minister said that the structures remained a mere building because there were no human resources that make them work and function as health facilities, adding that “as at the last count, we have about 30, 000 healthcare facilities, but only 20 per cent of the facilities are working in the country; that is what leads us to revitalization of 10, 000 primary healthcare centres across the country.
“If this system became fully functional, it will tell us which centre was functional and even give us the number of people at the facility, the doctors, nurses and pharmacists at a facility for adequate audit.’’