Increased impetus for HRH in Nigeria

First National Conference On Human Resources For Health
Abuja, Nigeria - 31 October - 1 November 2011

Nigeria First HRH conference
© Paths2 Nigeria

Aimed at fostering collaborative partnerships for better HRH planning and to raise awareness of the national challenges hindering service delivery, the 1st National Conference on Human Resources for Health (HRH) was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 31 October to 1 November 2011. Organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with a range of development partners including the Alliance - participants drawn from various sectors and regions pinpointed areas requiring urgent action and made recommendations to effectively steer the HRH in-country agenda.

The national conference was opened by the Hon. Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Federal Minister of Health who stressed the high importance the Nigerian Government places on addressing the HRH crisis. He formally launched the national HRH forum and steering committee made up of various government ministries, academia, private sector and regulatory and professional bodies (see formal notification "Nigeria: National Human Resources for Health Forum").

The Alliance took an active role at the conference by participating in a number of sessions, and delivering the keynote address Nigeria's major challenges in terms of HRH relate to constitutional issues, inadequate production, absorption, mal-distribution and poor retention of health workers. Country wide as well as State specific recommendations were formulated including a set of concrete action points. These measures cover areas such as management and structural adjustments of the Government bodies, review and harmonization of training curricula, or the use of Performance Based Financing mechanism and the development of policies on Task Sharing and Task Shifting.

The conference also offered a unique opportunity to meet with Government officials and discuss on progress and challenges in rolling out the CCF Principles and Processes.

"Thanks to the Alliance, Lagos State has started rolling out the CCF and has recorded significant achievement in involving stakeholders from outside the health sector. This is an encouraging sign to ensure a sustainable development of the health workforce in the country, backed up and endorsed by a wide constituency." said Dr George Pariyo, Medical Officer representing the Alliance at the conference. He added "There is a high level of interest in Nigeria among all stakeholders to significantly scale up efforts to increase stock of health workers and retain them in rural and hard to reach areas."

Closing the conference, the Hon. Dr. Mohammed Ali Pate, Federal Minister of State for Health, stressed the importance of a critical analysis and use of evidence in addressing HRH issues. He formally accepted the communiqué from the meeting participants for further consideration on behalf of the Federal Government.

The Alliance continued engagement in this process in Nigeria is important for Nigeria as well as for other countries as lessons can be derived also for other countries operating a federal system such as Pakistan and India.