From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
For Nigeria to overcome the barrage of challenges besetting its health sector, the country must place priority on preventive and not curative health, saying curative is the order of the day in contemporary Nigeria and the world at large.
The Chairman, Governing Council of Oyo State College of Health Science and Technology, Eleyele, Ibadan, Dr Aaron Ola Ogundiwin, gave the advice at a maiden press conference held in the institution, since the college, which started as School of Hygiene at Eleyele, was founded 89 years ago.
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According to Ogundiwin, who was assisted by the Provost of the College, Siji Ganiyu, a sanitarian: ‘The health sector in Nigeria is suffering from challenges of planning priority and misplacement of priority. We place priority on curative medicine than preventive medicine. So, we need to place emphasis on preventive above curative medicine.
‘The genesis of international health was based on curative health. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which was established in 1948, was not the first global response to health. International health began around the 1920s and it had to do with sanitary issues, which led to the establishment of the School of Hygiene, now Oyo State College of Health Science and Technology, in 1933, even before WHO was inaugurated in 1948.
‘So, sanitary issues started international health around 1922, which led to the establishment of sanitary training institutions, training centre for sanitary inspectors, who are the first set of health workers globally. This led to the establishment of the College of Health Technology, Yaba, Lagos in 1922.
‘Unfortunately, the government did not give priority to the beginning of professional health, which is preventive. Prevention, they say, is better than cure. If you are able to lay emphasis on preventive medicine, there won’t be much need for curative medicine.
‘When COVID-19 came, one of the non-pharmaceutical measures that some of us are doing now, which worked against the virus, was that we were told to engage in sanitary ways of living to prevent the spread of infection like COVID-19. Lassa fever is now on the increase, and it can be prevented by adhering to sanitary ways. The response of Governor Seyi Makinde to COVID-19, which was a good example to the federal and some state governments, has shown that his administration prioritises preventive health.
‘So, if we are able to spend a lot of effort on sanitation or preventive measures, we won’t be going to hospitals for curative measures. We can use masks, wash our hands, ensure physical distancing, which are the preventive measures for COVID-19, instead of engaging in using drugs, and that is why it is called non-pharmaceutical measures. If we are able to focus on preventive health, the problem of the health sector or response or whatever would not be there.’
Ogundiwin, however, corrected ‘the erroneous news in some quarters about the accreditation and licence for the Dental Surgery Technicians programme of the college, saying the public should disregard the fake news on the grounds that the 89-year-old institution is known for integrity and academic excellence since it was established till date.
‘Dental Therapist Registration Board of Nigeria paid an advisory visit on ND Dental Therapy and Certificate for Dental Surgery Technicals, to the college between 31st August and 2nd September 2021. The visit was successful. However, the board advised the college to improve on the facilities on the ground, while anticipatory approval was given for the Dental Surgery Technicians programme,’ Ogundiwin said.
He added that ‘some of the courses run by the college are accredited by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and some by the respective professional regulatory bodies, after which the graduates are licenced by such professional regulatory bodies.’
Ogundiwin stated further that a non-governmental organisation based in Dallas Georgia in the United States of America, Nigerian Connect, donated books worth US$55,000 to the college on December 25, 2021, to boost the academic excellence of the college.
He made it known that the college hosted the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria for full accreditation of the Medical Laboratory Technicians programme in October 2021 and the students’ quota was increased from 30 to 40.