The United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care has committed to strengthening Nigeria’s health workforce with a grant worth £2 million.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement hailed the new funding commitment.
The statement said the grant will cover two years period to support the government of Nigeria to optimize the performance, quality, and impact of the healthcare workforce through evidence-informed policies and strategies.
“The UK provided a multi-million-pound boost to support healthcare staff recruitment and retention in three African countries – Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana – supporting resilience against global health challenges,” it said.
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The Nigerian health system like many countries in the global south has been beset with challenges in having a resilient health system that is able to provide quality health services, promote health and prevent diseases.
The challenges have been further exacerbated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic which directly impacts the availability of health workers to provide quality services across the country.
Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said the strength of every health system reflects the capacity and adequacy of its health workforce, which are necessary to deliver quality services to address population health needs.
He said, “Through the UK government’s generous support through WHO, we will deploy the technical support from the 3 levels of the organization to support the development of evidence-based policies and strategies, capacity building and management for improved planning and management of Nigeria’s health workforce”.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, said a skilled, well-motivated and adequate health workforce is critical for Nigeria to end preventable deaths and build resilience against global threats.
He said, ” This UK International Development funding aligns with the Nigerian health workforce strategic plan and will help the country upskill its workers, and improve health outcomes in the long run.”
WHO said the two-year Human Resources for Health project aims to support the government at national and sub-national levels and support regulatory bodies, professional associations, and other key stakeholders to develop transformative strategies for scaling up the quantity and quality of health workers, including competency-based curricula development and reviews.
The project will draw on the technical capacity of WHO to strengthen health systems including experience of implementing similar projects with appreciable results in the past.
Implementation at sub-national levels with a focus on six states of Cross River, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos, will build on the presence and technical support being provided to state governments through the 37 WHO sub-national offices in Nigeria.