Implementation of NSOANP will strengthen surgical care – FG

The Federal Government has said the implementation of the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP) for Nigeria at sub – national levels will expand access to surgical care and give positive and improved outcomes leading to better healthcare for Nigerians.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who stated this in Abuja at a workshop on dissemination of NSOANP to states in Nigeria organised by the ministry explained that the essence is to have all actors in the surgical space on the same page for accelerated surgical care in the country.

Represented by Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director and Head, Department of Hospital Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, the minister expressed optimism that the workshop will produce recommendations for better and effective implementation of the plan.

“You are aware that the Smile Train and other partners have been supporting the Federal Ministry of Health in driving the implementation of the NSOANP and we have the National Council for Health approval for us to take the implementation to the sub – national levels. We need to have all the participants on the same page to the extent that we can speak with one voice, we will share the implementation plan with the states so that we can actually gain mileage in the implementation to ensure that we don’t have others moving fast and others lagging behind. We are actually behind schedule in the implementation because it’s from 2021 – 2023. But with this workshop we expect to gain mileage in the implementation as we carry the message to the sub – national levels and all the actors at the sub national level will be stimulated by our officers that will be going to disseminate the plan.

“The objective is that we do not segregate the actions and activities of the professionals but bring everybody under the same umbrella. What we have been doing was that you are an anaesthetist, you face your anaesthesia, you are an obstetrician or gynaecologist you face your own but now we are making it a teamwork. That’s the whole essence of the plan to the extent that the decision makers at the sub – national levels will ensure that the experts work together as a team. It’s not that we have not been having surgeries in the past, but everybody has just been acting on their own, but we want to really get them together as a team rather than working in silos,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the NSOANP team, Dr. Justina Seyi-Olajide, a paediatric surgeon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and facilitator for NSOANP noted that the plan is meant to the strengthen surgical systems of the country to ensure that universal health coverage is achieved.

“So, NSOANP is developed so that everybody can access surgical care wherever they may be. Implementation of the plan is to ensure the realization of the goals to improve workforce, to improve infrastructure, to improve training, and to improve governance. All the different aspect that make up the surgical systems will be improved and strengthened.

“This is how actions will be taken to implement it. For example, Smile Train has been funding training, has funded the creation of a cleft and surgery e-registry (this is a platform for reliable data collection). They are funding biomedical engineering training, supporting development of children’s operating rooms and also supporting training in basic life support and advanced life support as well as nursing care training to improve the quality of perioperative care, amongst other interventions”, Dr Seyi-Olajide added.

Earlier in a remark, Smile Train Vice President and Regional Director for Africa Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi averred that the goal of Smile Train is to ensure that safe surgery is accessible and affordable to all especially for patients with a cleft. This is in alignment with our strategic goals in pursuing our shared promise on the fulfillment of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health -related SDG goals.

“As we roll out the implementation of NSOANP and given the critical importance of healthcare delivery system at the state level it is imperative that the dissemination begins without further delay. We believe that this would consolidate the gains of NSOANP and at the same time help in reaching the last mile.

“In the spirit of the UHC, our goal is to ensure that surgical care is accessible; people don’t have to move out from their villages to come to the city centres to receive treatment. We also make sure that surgical care is affordable. No one should go bankrupt because of their surgical treatment.

“Again, we want to make sure that healthcare is equitable. Health for all, without segregation, no discrimination. The same care you get at the urban area should be the same you get at the rural area. This will go a long way in expanding and strengthening the health system when all the relevant actors in the NSOANP implementation are well informed and empowered to implement the objectives”, Mrs Obi opined.

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