In a significant move aimed at bolstering Nigeria’s health workforce and achieving Universal Health Coverage, the United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care has announced a new funding commitment. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warmly welcomed this grant, which amounts to £2 million and will cover a two-year period. The funding will support the government in optimizing the performance, quality, and impact of its health workforce through evidence-informed policies and strategies.
“The World Health Organization welcomes a new funding commitment made by the United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care to support Nigeria in strengthening her health workforce in the vision of achieving Universal Health Coverage,” stated a WHO spokesperson.
The UK’s funding commitment comes as part of a broader initiative to provide a multi-million-pound boost to healthcare staff recruitment and retention in three African countries, namely Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. This initiative aims to strengthen resilience against global health challenges.
“health system, like many countries in the global south, has been beset with challenges in having a resilient health system that is able to provide quality health services, promote health and prevent diseases. The challenges have been further exacerbated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which directly impacts the availability of health workers to provide quality services across the country,” explained the news report.
Dr. Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, emphasized the importance of a skilled and motivated health workforce, stating, “A skilled, well-motivated and adequate health workforce is critical for Nigeria to #EndPreventableDeaths and build resilience against global threats.”
“This UK International Development funding aligns with the health workforce strategic plan and will help the country upskill its workers, and improve health outcomes in the long run,” added Dr. Montgomery.
The two-year Human Resources for Health (HRH) project aims to support the government at both the national and sub-national levels. It will collaborate with regulatory bodies, professional associations, and other key stakeholders to develop transformative strategies for scaling up the quantity and quality of health workers.
“The 2-year HRH project aims to support the government at national and sub-national levels and support regulatory bodies, professional associations, and other key stakeholders to develop transformative strategies for scaling up the quantity and quality of health workers, including competency-based curricula development and reviews,” highlighted the news report.
The project will also focus on aligning investment in HRH with the current and future needs of the population and health systems, strengthening the capacity of institutions, including regulatory bodies, for effective public policy stewardship, leadership, and governance. It will optimize health workers’ retention, equitable distribution, and performance, as well as strengthen the management of health workforce data for monitoring and accountability.
“The strength of every health system reflects the capacity and adequacy of its health workforce, which are necessary to deliver quality services to address population health needs,” stated Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative.
“For a resilient and effective health system, Nigeria must have adequate numbers of health workers who are fit for purpose, motivated to perform, and equitably distributed across the subnational levels to enhance equity in access to their services by the population in need,” added Dr. Mulombo.
The WHO will play a crucial role in implementing the project, drawing on its technical capacity and experience in executing similar initiatives that have yielded positive results.
“Through the UK government’s generous support through WHO, we will deploy the technical support from the 3 levels of the organization to support the development of evidence-based policies and strategies, capacity building and management for improved planning and management of Nigeria’s health workforce,” affirmed Dr. Mulombo.
With this funding commitment, Nigeria is poised to make significant strides in strengthening its health workforce and improving healthcare access and delivery, ultimately moving closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage and enhancing the overall well-being of its population.
“The UK International Development funding will help Nigeria optimize the performance, quality, and impact of the health workforce through evidence-informed policies and strategies. This funding aligns with the health workforce strategic plan and will help the country upskill its workers, and improve health outcomes in the long run,” concluded the news report.
The grant from the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care demonstrates a strong commitment to supporting Nigeria’s healthcare sector and will undoubtedly contribute to the country’s efforts in building a resilient health system capable of meeting the needs of its population.