International College of Surgeons (ICS) has identified Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the health industry as an evidence-based solution to ameliorate the effect of global pandemic.
Dr Ibrahim Wada, Medical Director, Nisa Premier Hospital and Nisa groups, said this at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International College of Surgeons, Nigeria Section, while delivering the 14th Eruchalu Memorial Lecture on Monday in Abuja.
In his paper, tagged “The role of Public Private Partnership Value-Chains in Improving Healthcare Services in Nigeria during COVID-19 pandemic,” Wada described the pressure brought by COVID-19 on health system globally as enormous.
Wada explained that the PPP arrangements secured the needed cold chains and rapid movement of goods and services to the required places.
The partnership, according to him, helped in ameliorating the rapid growth of the pandemic as well as reduction in mortality rates.
The theme of the conference is “Global COVID-19 Pandemic: Effects on Safe Surgical Services, Training and Research”.
Wada said that through PPP arrangements and collaboration of all and sundry, the nation was able to mitigate the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the system.
He identified the disruptions and inadequacies in the country’s health system due to the pandemic to include disruptions at the level of patients, hospital services, supply chains and availability of manufactured goods.
Wada defined PPP as a cooperative venture between the public and private sectors, built on the expertise of each partner that best meets clearly-defined needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards.
“In the healthcare provider environment, it became rapidly apparent that there were acute shortages of isolation wards and intensive care facilities.
“Evidence of PPP which is collaboration emerged quickly whereby philanthropic organisations put up isolation centres and provided Intensive Care Unit (ICU) spaces in support of government efforts to contain the pandemic.
“The government provided the lands, policies and license while the private organisations provided funds, buildings, personnel, training and equipment,” he noted.
Wada further said that the private sector supported government hospitals to be able to float ICU facilities with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), facemask, ventilators and volunteer personnel.
Wada, who decried the dearth of testing centres in the wake of the pandemic, said the gap resulted in several days of delays to obtain test results, referral and individual apathy.
According to him, this gap was also closed through PPP as private testing centres were licensed by the government to complement what it had and this eased testing delays and allowed for quicker diagnosis.
“There is no doubt that the licensing of private labs, working in collaboration with government committees, the NCDC and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, eased the delays in obtaining results and improved treatment outcome for patients.
“Also on vaccines production, foreign manufactured vaccines were obtained through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.
“This was directed by GAVI vaccine alliance, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO alongside key delivery partner UNICEF”.
He added “the critical collaboration aided the unprecedented large-scale distribution of the vaccines among others,” he said.
Wada, who frowned at the death of 20 Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) members due to patients affected by the pandemic, blamed the number on inadequate testing and screening.
According to him, had the public-private cooperation in the management of the pandemic started early enough, perhaps more lives would have been saved.
He, however, called for local production of vaccines as well as medical implements and consumables like PPE, medication and hand gloves.
Wada emphasised “this can be best achieved if the government enters into PPP arrangements with relevant manufacturers as quickly as possible.”