Friday, 15 December 2017

Lagos State Validates Human Resource for Health, Task Shifting Policy

Rebecca Ejifoma 

The Lagos State government has validated the Human Resource for Health (HRH) Strategic Plan and Task Shifting Task Sharing (TSTS) Policy for the state in its quest to provide quality healthcare services for all.

The state partnership with Save the Children (SCI); the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI2) and fhi360, has carried out a five-year implementation framework for human resource for Health.

According to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos State has recognised the central and strategic role of the health workforce in the provision of the required manpower for the delivery.

“This supports the state in achieving its health goal aimed at the provision of quality healthcare that is equitably accessible, effective, efficient and affordable. This goal will be achieved by developing, improving, increasing and strengthening the health workforce with the appropriate numbers, distribution, skill mix, knowledge, competence and motivation to deliver health care services with the greater level of efficiency,” he added.

Represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Moyosore Adejumo, Idris expressed that the state government had once more by the articulation of this HRH Strategic Plan 2018-2022 demonstrated its commitment and resolves to invest in the process of strengthening and improving the current health workforce and prepares the enabling environment for the future pool of health workers.

He continued that Lagos had improved available evidence for its planning and management purpose over the years, adding that the Ministry of Health working with its partners had complied comprehensive evidence on the HRH situation. “A multi sectoral approach has been instituted for the development, coordination and management of HRH in Lagos.”

Idris, however, assured participants that leadership commitment would be provided to ensure that priorities, targets, objectives and interventions are met. “This will support the achievement of health outcomes as well as other health reform initiatives by the current administration. And the HRH strategy plan will be reviewed periodically to ensure consistency in the delivery of its aspiration and its appropriateness to the evolving HRH realities in state.”

He highlighted further that in Nigeria, Human Resource for Health shortage and inadequate skill distribution are the major determinant in the delivery of quality health care services. Also, he further observed,  the increasing population of Lagos State has reduced the health worker to patient ratio resulting in the shortage of health workers across all cadres.

Swiftly, the Commissioner assured that the ministry of health is dedicated to the Task Shifting Task Sharing policy for essential health services and will take suitable steps to adapt the policy for implementation with a view to achieving universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals.

While fielding questions from journalists, Idris said that with the policy, persons who were seeking for health would be better served. “Some of those responsibilities which are appropriately shared to sub-cadres of the main professional group will be better available to clients who are seeking health. Clients would not be turned away.”

From his word: “On the other side of the coin, those professionals would be better enabled by virtue of the fact that they will not be overwhelmed by so many patients who want to see the core professionals. Some of those duties or responsibilities can be shared so that the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists will not be overwhelmed,” she said.

A lead consultant to the project, Ms. Akaoma Onyemelukwe, noted that Lagos had to validate the HRS strategic plan which translates what were the findings from the situation analysis into action.

“This strategic plan actually talks about eight priority areas. One of which is communications and connectivity in the HRH which is the information system for human resources and also the workforce plan which is the bane of the plan,” from her words.

But she pointed that the plan could only work if it was well-resourced and if the investment on HRH was increased in terms of budgetary and non-budgetary allocations and funding.

Accordingly, Representative of Save the Children, Dr Opeyemi Odedere, described the plan as one that has articulated activities and generated indicators that would be monitored based on implementation strategy for the HRH policy of the state.

“The plan demonstrates the commitment of the state in ensuring an enabling environment for the future pool of health workers in the state. This would eventually strengthen the current health work force, support the achievement of health outcomes as well as other health reform initiatives by the state government,” he said.

Now, the State Team Leader for Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2), Dr. Edun Omasanjuwa, tames the TSTS policy as one that ensures there was enough human resource to go around; to provide the essential services that are required at the facility level in such a way that clients and patients are able to access essential primary healthcare services whether the primary provider of that services is available or not.

“If a superior officer is not available at the time of needs, the sub-cadre or junior officer staff can provide that services that they have been adequately trained, monitored and certified to provide under supervision,” he said. 

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