nma/ doctor/ kidnapping rural healthcare divide
Rural areas often face a lack of essential healthcare services.

Medical Intelligence, Surveillance Pivotal to Disease Outbreak Control  

Medical intelligence and surveillance have been identified as experts as useful components in the health care system and to control disease outbreaks and bio-attacks, experts have said.

According to them, automated-based medical intelligence and surveillance systems are playing critical roles and can complement the traditional manual pattern of document retrieval in advanced medical settings.

According to a Public Health expert at the Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital, Ogidi, Anambra State, Dr. Christian Ekpunobi, the Nigerian healthcare system is poorly developed and has no adequate and functional surveillance systems.

He said to accomplish much in health services, a well-grounded system in routine surveillance and medical intelligence should be enshrined.

The public health expert also noted that timely information is key towards containing unsuspected negative health outcomes in the country.

“Disease monitoring and reporting will go a long way in containing any outbreak of disease. There has to be a deliberate effort geared towards monitoring and tracking of any suspicion or rumour of any disease outbreak. It’s better to examine and discover it is false than to disregard any case that will later lead to loss of lives,” he said.

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According to him, health care provision in Nigeria remains the functions of the three tiers of government – the federal, state, and local government.

He noted that while the primary health care system is managed by the 774 local government areas, with support from their respective state ministries of health as well as private medical practitioners, the primary health care has its sublevel at the village, district, and LGA.

He said, “The secondary health care system is managed by the Ministry of Health at the state level. Patients at this level are often referred to primary health care. This is the first level of speciality services and is available in different divisions of the state.

“The state primary health care comprises laboratory and diagnostic services, rehabilitation, etc. The tertiary primary health care is provided by teaching hospitals and specialist hospitals.

“At this level, the Federal Government also works with voluntary and non-governmental organisations, as well as private practitioners to ensure that the country achieves a wholesome healthcare service delivery and surveillance that would ensure disease outbreaks are contained immediately from point of contact without spreading to other parts of the country.”

Corroborating his views, a medical practitioner and lecturer at the Department of Normal Physiology, Belarusian State Medical University in Europe, Dr. Menizibeya Osain, said as an important element of national security, public health not only functions to provide adequate and timely medical care, but is also meant to track, monitor, and control disease outbreaks.

Osain noted that inadequate tracking techniques in the public health sector can lead to huge health insecurity and endanger national security, adding that to give up-to-date recommendations for the Nigerian healthcare system, review the dynamics of healthcare in the United States, Britain, and Europe with regards to methods of medical intelligence and surveillance would help Nigeria.