“The average Nigerian is one health issue or crisis away from poverty.” This, sadly, reinforces the poor state of healthcare in Nigeria. The annual budget for healthcare is barely 4.5% of the nation’s total budgetary. The healthcare budget remains below 15.0% pledged by the head of African governments in 2001. To give perspective, the annual amount budgeted for each Nigerian as regards healthcare is less than N6000.
With the country’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure at 77.2%, there’s an urgent need for increased healthcare investment. To achieve this, bridging the healthcare financing gap will require a combined effort from the public and private sectors. This approach remains the best in solving Africa’s Healthcare Financing Gap of $66 billion, of which Nigeria accounts for 32% of the deficit.
Increased investment in Nigeria’s healthcare will see a rise in its GDP revenue as well as other socio-economic aspects. In this article, we will focus on the social impact of increased investment in Nigeria’s healthcare space.
Reduction in mortality
According to the World Health Statistics by WHO, the average life expectancy rate in Nigeria is 55.2 years, the maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births) is 814, the under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), etc. These are some of the worrying healthcare statistics in Nigeria that require more and urgent attention.
The troubling mortality rate of the population can be reduced with increased investment in different aspects of the healthcare sector. These investments will, in turn, translate to having a healthy nation. For instance, with every single year added to the life expectancy rate, Nigeria can increase its GDP per capita by four per cent.
More Job Opportunities
The high rate of unemployment remains one of the biggest problems Nigeria faces as a nation. According to the recent report from Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics, one in every two Nigerians in the labour force is either unemployed or underemployed. With Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 27.1%, this means 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed from a labour force of 80.2 million.
While these employment stats remain worrisome, increased investment in healthcare provides a much-needed lifeline. In America, for instance, healthcare is the biggest source of employment. For every thousand jobs created in the healthcare system, each job in the healthcare system creates jobs outside the system.
Another stat from WHO shows that for every additional one hundred thousand euros spent on healthcare, four new jobs are created (in countries like France & Germany). For lesser-developed countries in Europe, it is about 10 new jobs. In Nigeria and other developing countries in Africa, the estimated jobs are about 16 to 20.
Increase in Productivity
Another social impact of increased investment in healthcare is a significant increase in productivity level. A functioning and well-funded healthcare system will spur productivity due to the amount of a healthy workforce.
Increase in Health insurance
Health Insurance remains one sector of the healthcare system that is largely unpatronised. More often than not, the low patronage in health insurance packages is due to the high costs. Increased investment in healthcare and other aspects of healthcare will ultimately make healthcare insurance packages less expensive and thereby attract more buyers.
Increase in Healthcare Research
Increase in healthcare investment will enable more research. Nigeria’s current healthcare system lacks funding to carry out adequate research. Healthcare research will also increase preventive care which will reduce the cost of healthcare spending.
Also, with adequate research, more study and preparation can be in place for timely containment of diseases which leads to improved public health.