Medical professionals from different zones in Nigeria have called on the federal government to invest more in innovative ways of strengthening surgical systems in the country.
The professionals made the call during the conclusion of the National Cleft Stakeholders Forum in Nigeria, held in Abuja.
Speaking during the event, Smile Train vice president and regional director for Africa, Mrs Nkeiruka Obi, stressed the need for more collaboration in ensuring prioritisation of patients with cleft in receiving safe, timely and quality treatment.
She said, “Neglected surgical conditions continue to be a burden among many of our underserved communities including access to safe and affordable care.
“As Smile Train endeavours to provide sustainable cleft care, we call for investment and collaboration from the community leaders to the government in ensuring that we provide safe, quality and timely treatment, with priority on children’s surgery.”
The co-chair of the National Surgical Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP) Prof Emmanuel Ameh, while sharing a report on the implementation of Nigeria’s NSOANP, noted that the plan represented a stepwise and organised platform for the strengthening and scaling-up of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries, but whose successful implementation had been hampered by funding.
“Funding remains the most important threat to implementation. We need to constantly innovate relevant, sustainable funding mechanisms both locally and working with development partners like Smile Train to successfully implement the plan and make it more sustainable.
“If we are to achieve Universal Health Coverage, we need to prioritise children’s surgery and nursing within Nigeria’s plan as we strengthen our health systems and achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he noted.