|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 151-152
Breaking the barriers of inadequate funding in clinical chemistry practice in Nigeria
Elaine Chinyelu Azinge
The Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Sciences, The Office of the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, PMB 12003, Idi Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
|Date of Web Publication||14-Oct-2016|
Elaine Chinyelu Azinge
The Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Sciences, The Office of the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, PMB 12003, Idi Araba, Lagos
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Azinge EC. Breaking the barriers of inadequate funding in clinical chemistry practice in Nigeria. J Clin Sci 2016;13:151-2
We welcome our readers to the October-December 2016 edition of the Journal of Clinical Sciences.
On October 12, 2016, The Department of Clinical Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and the Department of Chemical Pathology, Lagos State University College of Medicine are going to cohost the 6 th Scientific Conference of the Association of Clinical Chemistry of Nigeria and the African Federation of Clinical Chemistry taking place from October 12 to 14, 2016. It promises to be an exciting event as the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry is looking forward to the Lagos event.
The theme of the conference is "Towards sustainable clinical chemistry practice for the nation." The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry is focusing on how to upgrade the practice of clinical chemistry (chemical pathology) in Nigeria.
The Chemical Pathology Laboratories in Nigeria, specifically the government-funded laboratories, have not functioned optimally in recent times. The world of technological advances witnessed in clinical chemistry worldwide has not found their way into the chemistry laboratories in Nigeria.
This scenario has been caused by multiple challenges faced not only by the health sector but also by the country at large. Dwindling of government resources has led to underfunding of health facilities which include all aspects of the pathology laboratory. The clinical chemistry laboratory suffers greatly because of the peculiarity of the instrumentation it requires for its services.
Due to the high sensitivity of clinical chemistry equipment, it has become almost impossible to operate such equipment under the circumstances that prevail in the country.
The most important challenge is how to run a clinical chemistry laboratory with the epileptic power supply that obtains currently in the country. There is usually no electricity backing and no equipment backup in most public government-funded laboratories.
In its investigations, the World Health Organization found that 50%-80% of laboratory equipment brought into the country do not function as a result of very poor infrastructure and lack of funds to ensure the level of maintenance that these sensitive equipment needs. 
Misappropriation of funds occurs at every level. The little funds that exist suffer from underhand procurement practices. The World Bank assessment of 1999 quoted that for every one naira spent by government, sixty kobo was lost to underhand procurement practices. 
Other challenges that exist include the brain drain syndrome. Experts migrate to developed countries where life is easier as soon as they get an extra qualification. The brain drain syndrome is a problem that must be tackled head on for the survival of our health system.
Diversion of patients to private health sector facilities by health personnel in the public sector is a hydra-headed monster that must be tackled.
A great percentage of health spending is done out of pocket, and this means that lifesaving facilities are not available to the poor.
Health tourism became the order of the day for those who could afford it. Medical tourism has clearly not solved the health problems of the country.
In recent times, more private-funded laboratories are springing up in the country and laboratory medicine is now seen as one of the lucrative areas of business in medical practice.
The cost of private laboratory services are exorbitant and cannot be afforded by a huge percentage of the informal sector of the country.
With the population explosion witnessed since independence in 1960, this means that a large number of Nigerians do not have access to lifesaving health services. 
The National Health Insurance Scheme is still in its infancy. One of its objectives includes ensuring availability of funds to the health sector for improved services. There is hope that with time if these funds are managed properly it could become a source of funds to beef up laboratory and some special health services.
The current government continues to tackle issues which cause low government revenue, corruption, tax evasion, and militancy in the oil producing sector of the country. Regulatory laws which ensure the growth of other arms of industry are being put in place so that the country does not depend on oil revenue alone.
All these are measures which can help to boost government revenue and therefore government spending.
Foreign funds have done so much in specific areas of laboratory funding.
Millennium development goal number 6, the eradication of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria has been greatly enhanced by foreign funding. APIN laboratories set up with funds from PEPFAR and Global Fund have been instrumental to the crash in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
APIN laboratories which stand side by side with government-funded laboratories in the same compound function well, while the government-owned laboratories function epileptically just as all the amenities they require are provided epileptically.
We will continue to explore ways to ensure that government facilities are brought back to good standard as they were when they were set up with lofty objectives.
We thank our authors and readers for their patronage of the Journal of Clinical Sciences and hope that this journal will grow to enviable heights with your patronage.
| References|| |
Opit L. World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health. Oxford: The World Bank, Oxford University Press, 1993; 1994. p. 329. ISBN 0-19-520890-0. Health Econ., 3: 127-128. doi:10.1002/hec.4730030209.
Nigeria Population Worldometers. 2016. Available from: worlometers.info/world-population/nigeria-population/. [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 27].