By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Nigeria’s health sector authorities have been urged to put public health on the front burner of the country’s healthcare delivery system.
Doing so will enable the country achieve desired national development.
Dr. Tosin Ajayi, Chairman/CEO of First Foundation/Chairman/CEO, Africa First, said this at a public lecture in honour of Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State.
The event which was organized by Centre For Epidemiology and Health Development was held in Lagos on Thursday. The theme of the lecture was: Leading the Health Sector for Excellence.
“Unless we do something about public health of our nation, the human performance of our nation cannot improve.
“If we don’t do anything about our public health we are not going to have the right human Intelligence among us,” Ajayi who was chairman on the occasion said.
He expressed disappointment that in Nigeria the followership of alternative medicine is twice the followership of orthodox medicine.
While asserting that health should rank the number one priority of government, Ajayi declared: “Health is the determinant of life. Make public health the main thing.”
In his welcome address, Professor Akin Osibogun, a former Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), narrated how he worked together with Dr. Idris to tackle the outbreak of Ebola disease in year 2014 while he was the chief medical director of LUTH.
“Using standard epidemiology approach we were able to bring Ebola under control,” Osibogun disclosed.
He expressed dissatisfaction that the patriotism displayed by medical professionals during that period has not been appreciated. “Nobody appears to appreciate what we did,” the former CMD of LUTH stated.
He explained that Centre for Epidemiology and Health Development considered it worthy to hold the event in order to present an award to Idris in recognition of his achievements in the health sector.
The guest lecturer, Dr. Annette Akinsete, provided an analysis of the leadership qualities of Idris.
She declared: Dr. Jide Idris has been an exemplary leader, embodying all qualities of leadership, but he is the first one to say he didn’t do it alone.
“He carries others along.He has led the health sector in Lagos State for nearly 24 years, Akinsete added, noting that Idris led Lagos State response to Ebola outbreak in 2014.
The lecturer described the Lagos State health commissioner as an embodiment of the best qualities of leadership, pointing out that he produced Lagos State Health Development Plan 2018-2022 and made Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme possible, among others.
According to her, Idris by applying charismatic and transformational leadership style was able to revitalize Primary Healthcare (PHC) in Lagos State.
She recommended that prevention of disease should be given priority over curative care. “We have to move away from people getting sick; let’s prevent,” she emphasized.