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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 107-113

Unregulated drug use and consequences in the Nigerian health sector

1 Subdepartment of Dermatology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chijioke G Onyekonwu
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_18_19

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Background: The Nigerian health system is bedeviled with poor regulatory services, frequent interruption of services as a result of disharmony among different cadres of health-care providers, inadequate manpower, poor management and leadership, and poor access to care due to non-enrollment in health insurance. Health-care spending is often catastrophic in most cases as payment is usually out of pocket for most service users. This has led to proliferation and patronage of unlicensed and unregulated health-care providers. Some patients are able to afford out of pocket payment but often meet suboptimal functioning services when they present to the hospitals which are also bedeviled by inadequate manpower and health-care facilities. Others who cannot afford the payments first patronize quacks and present later to the hospitals, sometimes with complications and attendant increase in morbidity and mortality. Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to highlight some problems that may arise as a result of unregulated drug use in the Nigerian populace and the role of an efficient health system with improved health insurance access, in curbing these problems. Materials and Methods: The reality of the Nigerian Health Care System as it stands today was highlighted and objectives of the National Health Insurance Scheme at inception cited. Three clinical cases of complications arising from poor access to health care and drug use regulation were described. Conclusion: Access to health care in Nigeria has remained poor and mostly out of pocket despite the goal of the National Health Insurance Scheme to provide health care at reduced costs. Patronage of unlicensed health-care providers remains high due to poor access to health care, poverty, and illiteracy with untoward effects on affected individuals. There is an urgent need to scale up access to health insurance across all sectors and ensure efficient service delivery through regular monitoring by appropriate regulatory agencies and constant education of the populace to discourage patronage of quack health-care providers.

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