While Dr. Muyi Aina was making significant strides in influencing the global health arena, playing a pivotal role in shaping both local and global health policies, setting agendas for leaders in the health sector, addressing pandemics, and fortifying the global health system, he remained unaware that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was quietly observing and taking note of his accomplishments. With swift and decisive action, the President appointed him to oversee the drive for Nigeria’s universal health coverage, thus bringing a truckload of expertise, managerial acumen, and a practical roadmap to lead the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) as its Director General/Chief Executive Officer.
Nigeria, despite its immense potential and resilience, continues to grapple with challenging health indices that demand urgent attention and innovative solutions, especially for its rural population. Dr. Muyi Aina, with his parade of expertise, is expected to tackle these issues head-on with a strategic vision aimed at transforming the health landscape in the nation.
At the forefront of these pressing health challenges is the ongoing issue of Maternal and Child Health. Nigeria faces persistently high maternal and child mortality rates, reflecting gaps in access to quality healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.
Simultaneously, the prevalence of infectious diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, and the challenges posed by emerging viruses, continues to strain the healthcare system. Despite efforts, achieving optimal immunization coverage remains a significant challenge, leaving vulnerable populations exposed to preventable diseases.
Compounded by insufficient healthcare infrastructure, particularly in rural and underserved areas, the effective delivery of healthcare services is hindered. All these issues are the problems Nigerians expect Dr. Aina to help address. These are achievable by prioritizing the revitalization of primary healthcare services to ensure they are accessible, comprehensive, and responsive to the needs of Nigerians.
Continuous implementation of community-based healthcare initiatives to bridge the gap between healthcare providers and local communities, fostering trust and participation, becomes paramount. In doing this, the need to leverage digital technologies for telemedicine, health information systems, and innovative data-driven approaches to enhance healthcare delivery, especially in remote areas, becomes even more plausible.
Often, funds from the federal government are not sufficient to implement ideas, no matter how noble. As a result, Dr. Aina would have to deploy innovative mechanisms that will help mobilize resources from other allied sources, especially through public-private partnerships. Collaborating with the private sector to explore sustainable models that encourage private for-profit facilities to actively participate in delivering essential healthcare services becomes plausible.
Launching targeted immunization campaigns to improve coverage, with a focus on reaching vulnerable populations and educating communities on the importance of vaccinations, is crucial. In doing this, targeted efforts should be made to reach out to people living with disabilities. Stakeholders in the primary healthcare sector are optimistic that Dr. Aina’s far-reaching exposure in the utilization of the Landscape Study of Routine Immunization in Nigeria (LARI) and the transformation of the National and State Vaccine Logistics and Supply Chain system would usher in more enhanced immunization coverage.
Dr. Muyi Aina’s appointment as the DG/CEO of NPHCDA should mark a significant turning point for the Nigerian primary healthcare sector. With a successful track record in managing both health and non-health projects at national and global levels, he is well-equipped with both professional and administrative experiences to bring a turnaround in the primary healthcare sector in Nigeria. This proven track record ultimately aligns with President Tinubu’s commitment to revitalizing healthcare infrastructure and services at the grassroots level.
Drawing from his accomplishments in overseeing non-health sectors such as the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN), McKinsey, and other global management organizations where extensive digital technologies were employed, Dr. Aina is expected to apply his expertise in deploying and leveraging digital platforms. This strategic approach can effectively bridge the gap in access to medical services, particularly in remote areas. Not only does this improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery, but it also facilitates timely interventions and preventive measures.
In the grand scheme of things, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s strategic poach of Dr. Muyi Aina for the NPHCDA emerges not just as a personnel decision but as a catalyst for positive change in Nigeria’s healthcare landscape. It symbolizes a commitment to progress, a dedication to the well-being of the people, and recognition that strategic leadership is the key to unlocking a healthier and more prosperous future for all Nigerians.
*Abdullahi O. Haruna Haruspice writes from Abuja