Research Study To Assist Govt Improve Quality of Healthcare Submits Report

May 21, 2024 - 13:05
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Research Study To Assist Govt Improve Quality of Healthcare Submits Report

By Ekanem Asuquo

A study undertaken by a research team from the Health and  Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), Directorate of Research, University of Calabar meant to assist the government in evaluating the management and use of quality of care data as it relates to Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Elderly Health and Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) has presented its findings. 

 The study is intended to assist the government and other health stakeholders in using the findings to improve the quality of healthcare services provided to patients in public healthcare facilities.

Presenting their findings in Calabar at a ceremony organized by the Health and Demographic Surveillance System,  Directorate of Research, University of Calabar in collaboration with JHPIEGO Nigeria, themed: Assessment of  Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Elderly Health and Nutrition (RMNCAEH +N) Quality of Care Data Management and Use in Cross River and Rivers States, a leading member from the Research Team, Dr. Ekpereonne Esu explained that the study was conducted to produce a data-based blueprint tailored towards assisting the government in improving the quality of healthcare services provided at health facilities within the focal states of Cross River and Rivers.

Dr. Esu enumerated their recommendations meant to boost the quality of healthcare to include robust synergy between private and public hospitals, strict supervision by regulators, and availability of adequate and competent manpower.

 Other suggestions listed include the provision of revolving grants to private operators to optimize operational efficiency, timely release and sufficient budgetary allocation to the health sector by the government, provisions of standard medical facilities, seamless data collection and sharing, and a conducive working environment.

In his remarks, the principal investigator, Professor Martin Meremikwu, opined that the study was prompted by the need to identify gaps in quality and efficient healthcare services available in health facilities in both states arising from data management and data use practices to evolve trendy strategies to aid the government in addressing these challenges.

According to Prof. Meremikwu, “This is a commissioned work facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Health and their counterparts in Cross River and River States aimed at providing workable solutions towards enhancing the quality of health services obtainable in public health facilities in the two states. We also examined the process of timely and accurate collection of quantitative and qualitative data and the professional competence of the workforce from  110 primary, secondary, and tertiary health facilities selected across the three senatorial districts in Cross River State and 59 health facilities in Rivers State.”

"Our focal point was RMNCAEH+N quality of care. We used the RMNCAEH+N indicators as a yardstick in assessing the selected public health facilities to find out the barriers that influence the quality of care and the process of gathering, sharing, and applying data in the area of practice.”

"Having completed the fieldwork, we are here to present and discuss the data from the study and bring it to the attention of the government and relevant stakeholders. We are optimistic that the findings will provide a reliable barometer in policy formulation and implementation as we strive to reposition our health sector in tandem with the global best standards for the well-being of our people."

Also speaking, another member of the research team, Dr. Iwara Arikpo,  said" To arrive at  these empirical findings, reliable  study methods and the sampling procedure were adopted, followed by the rigorous training of data collectors before their deployment to the field,  to ensure quality data collection"

He revealed that preparations for the study began in August 2022 while the actual fieldwork started in June 2023 and ended in December 2023.

In her remarks, the Director-General of the Cross River Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Vivien Otu, applauded the research team for their meticulous efforts in conducting the research, describing the findings as apt and timely given the commitment of  Governor Bassey Otu-led administration to reposition the health sector in the state for efficiency and affordability in line with global best practices.

Speaking, a former Commissioner for Health in the Cross River State and current Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Calabar, Prof. Angela Oyo-Ita, who stood in for the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi, said, "The study findings  will  assist in providing evidence-based medical treatment needed for  positive results in line with the global trend."

Commenting, the Director of Public Health in Cross River State, Dr. Jonah Offor, described the outcome of the research as a crystal reflection of the situation on the ground, which requires a collective approach to achieving the desired results.

In his words, “The manpower deficiency threatening to cripple the health sector is not peculiar to Cross River State as evidenced in the research findings.  The brain drain that is ravaging our health sector as a country must be tackled urgently to avert an imminent collapse of the health sector, probably in the next few years.

The research was supported by the Federal and State Ministries of Health in Cross River and Rivers, State Primary Health Care Development Agencies in both states, the Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics, JHPIEGO, and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.