APC and PDP on Improving Maternal and Child Health in Nigeria

As we approach the new date for the presidential elections, we decided to use the additional time provided by the postponement to scrutinize the two leading party manifestoes on health in a bit more detail. While there are other parties also in the race, we have chosen for convenience to focus on the manifestoes of the two front-runner parties – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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The APC in its manifesto has a section on healthcare.

Within the healthcare section of its manifesto, the APC says that it will:

Prioritize the reduction of the infant mortality rate by 2019 to 3%; reduce maternal mortality by more than 70%; reduce HIV/AIDs infection rate by 50% and other infectious diseases by 75%; improve life expectancy by additional 10 years on average through our national healthy living program.
Increase the number of physicians from 19 per 1000 population to 50 per 1000; increase national health expenditure per person per annum to about N50,000 (from less than N10,000 currently).
Increase the quality of all federal government owned hospitals to world class standard within five years.
Invest in cutting edge technology such as telemedicine in all major health centers in the country through active investment and partnership programs with the private sector.
Provide free ante-natal care for pregnant women, free health care for babies and children up to school going age and for the aged and free treatment for those afflicted with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Boost the local manufacture of pharmaceuticals and make non adulterated drugs readily available.

The PDP section on health says that:
The party shall present a comprehensive health-care policy for the country, the essential aim of which shall be:

Health-care for all citizens;
Free medical services in all institutions of learning; and
Free medical services to the aged and the handicapped.

As its strategy, it says that: PDP in government shall:

Ensure that all Nigerians, particularly the young and the aged, shall have access to free medical services;
Provide free immunization to all children;
Progressively establish primary health centre, equipped with pharmacies, within the reach of every Nigeria, particularly the rural dwellers.
Progressively provide General Hospitals in all Local Government headquarters; specialist hospitals in all State Capitals.
Encourage research into traditional medical, practices and integrate these practices into the orthodox medical system.
Equip and expand the teaching Hospitals in the country;
Embark on mass training of paramedical personnel to meet the needs of our ruralpopulace;
Encourage more students to train as medical doctors;
Provide special incentives for medical practitioners and other medical Personnel with particular emphasis in those located in remote areas;
Stimulate the local production of medical drugs and other supplies;
Encourage family planning by providing family planning services and materials free of charge;
Regulate private hospitals, medical clinics, and pharmacies to protect Nigerians against exploitations; and
Make and enforce stringent laws against the manufacturing and sale of fake and adulterated drugs; and promote a healthy physical environment by intensifying the present periodic environmental sanitation exercises.

Generally speaking, both main parties promise to raise the number of medical doctors, provide free healthcare for children and the elderly, improve the quality of government/teaching hospitals, fight fake and adulterated drugs and boost the local pharmaceutical industry. In addition, the APC wants to improve maternal and child health, invest in cutting-edge technology and reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases, while the PDP aims to achieve universal healthcare, offer free medical services in all institutes of learning and free healthcare for the handicapped, improve the quality of private hospitals, promote environmental sanitation exercises, offer free family planning, increase medical personnel especially in rural areas, integrate traditional medical practices and increase the number of general hospitals, specialist hospitals and primary health centres.

Full Article on Nigeria Health Watch

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