technology and disease control in contemporary nigeria
In recent times, Information and communication Technology (ICT) has presented a positive tool in combating health related issues and a reliable faucet of curtailing disease outbreak. In various countries of the world, Nigeria not excluded, ICT has provided the domain of public health the potential for harnessing information technology for surveillance in tracking, monitoring and controlling disease outbreak. There have been various infectious disease outbreaks in the Nigerian health care system like the most recent lassa-fever, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which according to World Health Organization (WHO) is the world’s deadliest international health emergency in the modern time and many others. Emergence of infectious diseases is associated with human factors such as population density, travel, trade, changes in land use, environmental factors and the interaction between humans and wildlife (Jones KE et al, 2009). Once an infectious threat is identified surveillance of the disease spread is paramount in order to apply and assess preventive and control measures ( Heymann DL, et al, 2001).Technological progress has facilitated efforts of disease monitoring and it has made possible to construct mathematical models for the study of disease dynamics and epidemic prediction.
This paper is therefore aimed at analyzing the various ways technology is deployed to controlling the outbreak of diseases. It shall seek to review the state of the Nigerian health care system with the aid of technology and to provide possible recommendations to the effective deployment of technology in disease control in the country.
An Abstract On Technology And Disease Control In Contemporary Nigeria.
Lately, Technology, especially the Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) has served a veritable tool in the war against diseases and health-related issues. It has significantly aided in the reduction and management of ailments as much as could be feasible. Research records show that in Nigeria, the use of technology in fighting diseases over the past few years has been explosive. ICT has given the speed of combating diseases a boost, especially in the areas of disease observation, diagnostics, evaluation, control, and management. These have been evident in the cases of, at least in contemporary times, Lassa-fever, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Monkeypox etc
Major flaws in the Nigerian health care system
In spite of the various reforms to increase the provision of health to the Nigerian people, health access is only 43.3%. The inadequacy of the health care delivery system in Nigeria could be attributed to the peculiar demographics of the Nigerian populace. About 55% of the population lives in the rural areas and only ~45% live in the urban areas. About 70% of the health care is provided by private vendors and only 30% by the government. Over 70% of drugs dispensed are substandard. Hence, the ineffectiveness of the NIHS had recently been attributed to the fact that the scheme represents only 40% of the entire population, and 52-60% are employed in the informal sector.
Over half of the population live below the poverty line, on less than $1 a day and so cannot afford the high cost of health care. Also, a recent study by Akande had reported a poor referral system between the various tiers of health care which probably tells on the poor managerial functions of the health care delivery system.
At the primary health care level, some have sort solutions to the aforementioned flaws. For example, several community health financing schemes [Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI)] from individuals’ (taxi drivers, market women, etc.) effort to provide the health needs for their communities are documented. Some urban subpopulations have also initiated the scheme. The number of CBHI probably exceeds 585 according to a recent report by Obinna Onwujekwe and colleagues (2010).in that study, the authors reported high preferences for health care benefits both at the urban and rural areas . Problems encountered in the CBHI are its very small and inadequate funding capabilities. That notwithstanding, some CBHI have increased their scope to be registered as health maintenance organizations. Also, quality of health care provided is not accessed, although this remains a problem for the NHIS too.