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Role of Community Health Practitioners in National Development: The Nigeria Situation

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DOI: 10.4236/ijcm.2016.77056    2,568 Downloads   5,143 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

This is a review paper that brings to focus, concepts of Community Health Practice that connect Community Health Practitioners’ Roles to National development in view of its composite index improvement measure of social welfare services provision among others for the citizens of a country over time, with particular emphasis on medical care component of such index aimed at reduction in diseases and poverty in the population. The objective of the review work is to determine the extent to which Community Health Practice, particularly by Community Health Practitioners is capable of ensuring National Development in democratic governance or otherwise, in the context of our country, Nigeria. The methodology applied was traditional review of published literatures concerning the subject and findings of operational research of programme implemented by Community Health Practitioners at the Primary Health Care facilities and household level in the communities. This paper emphasizes on Primary Health Care services delivery contribution to National Development, since it is the level where Community Health Practitioners are mainly commissioned to render their services. Home-Based Care Strategy for Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health piloted in three (3) local government areas (Ahoada West, Etche and Oyigbo) in Rivers State, Nigeria, in 2012 and implemented by Community Health Practitioners, aimed at reducing maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality by 20% by 2015 in line with the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, had been shown to achieve an average of 26% improvement in utilization of maternal and newborn health services, an average of 27% overall reduction in maternal malnutrition status, an average of 14% overall improvement in under 5 years malnutrition status among others in 2013 on comparing with baseline indicators. Nigeria also attained 80% coverage in routine immunization in most vaccine preventable diseases except Tetanus Toxiod (TT) 2 (54%) in 2013 to achieve herd immunity of the community to prevent transmission of disease pathogen to cause a disease. Community Health Practitioners are the frontline Primary Health Care Professionals charged with the responsibility of implementation of immunization programmes in Nigeria and therefore contributing significantly to the prevention and control of targeted vaccine preventable diseases in Nigeria Health System. Our findings on factors militating against Community Health Practitioners’ Roles in National Development as elicited in this paper may form basis for empirical studies to determine the level of significance of each of these factors. In conclusion, it is when the Community Health parameters are adequately addressed that we can ensure sustainable National Development and we can say we have succeeded in our various strategic agenda of government at whatever level that makes up the complex whole. This brings to fore, the importance of the roles of Community Health Practitioners in health care delivery to National Development in the context of our country, Nigeria.

Cite this paper

Solomon Ibama, A. and Dennis, P. (2016) Role of Community Health Practitioners in National Development: The Nigeria Situation. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 7, 511-518. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2016.77056.

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