The Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria has urged government to give priority to health care and disease control by attracting more funding investments and new partnerships globally as it was done during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPSN also demanded reduced spending on ineffective or inequitable public programmes such as fuel subsidies and unnecessary political appointments and increased allocations to health and social sectors.
The Society further called for improved effective communication between health and disease control professionals and policy makers, with emphasis on improved health infrastructure, adding that government should take responsibility and ‘own’ the Disease Control Programmes through improved direct funding and budgetary allocation.
PPSN stated these as part of the recommendations contained in its communique issued at the end of its 46th Conference and Annual General Business Meeting held at the Delta State University, Abraka, held between October 4th and 7th, 2022. The communique was e-signed by PPSN Vice President, Prof Gideon Amuga.
The Society also noted the existence of donors’ fatigue and the need by government to mobilise more resources from within and also collaborate with other African countries in diseases management. It also advocated the sustenance of coordination between the public and private sectors in rendering health services.
It enjoined government to the incorporate technology through digital platforms for disease surveillance, monitoring, evaluation and programme implementation.
PPSN also appealed to government to support Research and Development centres in the healthcare sector with resources to help professionals concentrate on tackling problems related to disease control.
It encouraged government to check increasing brain drain in the health sector.
The Society further noted that adequate training, welfare and payment of health workers, along with providing incentives to retain health workers are very critical.
It added that the working environment and living conditions ultimately influence the performance and motivation of health professionals and academics to remain in Africa and tackle spread of diseases.
PPSN encouraged its members to take advantage of the capacity-building opportunities for following neglected tropical diseases control, including European Foundation Initiative for African Research into Neglected Tropical Diseases (EFINTD), consisting five European Foundations with the aim of combating NTDs by offering funding for postdoctoral fellows from sub-Saharan Africa to pursue scientific careers in their home continent; the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), which provides opportunity for Small Grants to support African researchers; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant, which provides opportunities in NTDs which includes Accelerate Resilient, Innovative and Sustainable Elimination of NTDs (ARISE) in collaboration with Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the ELMA Philanthropies.
ARISE, according to PPSN, is a new philanthropic funding mechanism centred on country priorities and leadership, which specifically supports country-led efforts to scale up interventions and optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of NTD programmes.
The Society further encouraged PPSN and PPIN to play their roles on the Agenda 2023 by contributing in the technical progress of accelerating programmatic action by providing advanced scientific information that will promote understanding (in disease epidemiology and pathology, identify possible gaps in research that would hinder progress towards achieving the targets, providing information on understanding of the non-target benefits, environmental effects of interventions).
The Society further charged its members to provide information as well as guidance through implementation and operational research on effective affordable interventions for prevention, treatment, case management, rehabilitation and care of specific NTDs as well as continued innovation and adaptation of interventions.
It also enjoined PPSN to foster closer relationships with the NGDOs in the country so as to be an integral part of the strategy and service delivery of NTD interventions in different parts of the country.
The communique added that the Society must be part of the planning and implementation process in the Agenda 2030, stressing it must be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the delivery system.
It must also be involved in the process of intensifying cross-cutting approaches through development of guidelines/templates for integrating interventions for the endemic NTDs and mainstreaming them into national health systems, and coordination with related programmes such as WASH, vector control and others.
The communique further stated that the time has come for PPSN to take the bold step of approaching the relevant bodies and NGDOs with offer of its services, adding, “We are a unique society with members spread across the six geo-political zones of the country. We are part of the Agenda 2030! The time to end the neglect is now!”
The communique also announced that the Society will celebrate her 50th anniversary and 47th Annual Conference in Imo State in the last quarter of 2023.