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18 Months…

by ndubuisi edeoga

Eighteen months.

That is the average duration of Health ministers tenures in Africa.

This is according to Dr Nigel Crisp in his book Turning the World Upside Down: the search for global health in the 21st Century, Read more here. This has to change for meaningful development to take foot hold.

In Nigeria, we have gone through 2 health ministers in the first three years of this administration. Two times already, we have had start afresh. We loose so much. The strategic planning and effective program implementation that needs follow through is lost in the throes of regime change.

The greatest legacy of the outgoing Minister of Health Professor Babatunde Osotimehin will be the new National Strategic Health Development PlanExtensive consultations on the plan took place, including  views from stakeholders at both the Federal and State levels, as well as development partners. Instructively, he was at the 53rd National Council on Health (NCH) meeting on the day before he lost his job in Asaba, the Delta State capital…presenting his the plan.

Now we pray that this plan will not be discarded…but will be the foundation of the development we seek.

The polio eradication program in Nigeria has for the first time in a long while shown commendable progress…this is according to Muhammad Ali Pate, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Nigeria.

The breakdown shows that in 2008, 800 cases of polio were recorded in Nigeria; 90% of which were due to the type 1 polio virus. By the end of 2009, there were 388 cases with only 28 cases in the last half of the year. The last type 1 case was at the end of October, 2009. In 2010 we have seen only one case of polio in Nigeria so far in 2010—a type 3 case in Bomadi in the Delta State in southern Nigeria.

As we eagerly await the announcement of our new health minister whose tenure will again last no more than 18 months, we pray that the new minister will continue all that is good in the health ministry and change only the things that need change.

18 months….

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

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