Economic Change is constant and it is an ever-evolving process and a volatile economy is one characterized by intermittent increase and decrease in the price of basic amenities (food, energy, shelter, health, public services etcetera) as well as a high degree of economic uncertainty.
A highly volatile economy has a rapid fluctuation in the price of a security within a short time span whereas a low volatile economy fluctuates less frequently within a long-time span.
Based on this, we can thus say that the Nigerian economy is a volatile economy – marked by the rise and fall of our currency manifested by the subsequent increased exchange rate, increased oil prices, declining Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is, amid its trickling growth still not sufficient to lift the bottom half of the population out of extreme poverty.
While a study by World bank earmarked oil price volatility as a major factor influencing the country’s growth and economic stability, the study also revealed that for the past 19 years our economy has had a rollercoaster growth performance index.
Does this have an implication?
The economy is encompassing and doesn’t stand alone. It dictates how education, food security, healthcare and every other sector plays out. Therefore, for every professional and otherwise setting the economy becomes a key player.
The Universal Health Coverage
The universal health coverage is a global policy that advocates a reality where accessibility to basic and quality health care for everyone would be possible without being a financial burden to its subscribers. The UHC advocates increased funding of the health care system, ensured social protection and availability of basic quality health care to achieve the sustainable development goals number three (3) which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
How would the UHC strive in a volatile economy?
To answer this, we would first need to answer the question: Is the UHC achievable? Yes! Currently, the UHC is being ratified in a lot of developed and developing nations such as Australia, Canada, Algeria and even our neighboring country, Ghana are listed to be making progress towards attaining the UHC.
However, as a tradition in African states (Nigeria precisely), having the UHC as a goal is not enough progress when compared with its execution.
In Nigeria, there are efforts to adopt this policy and bring it to fruition and one of this is the inaugurated BHCPF (Basic Health Care Provision Fund) – a funding system for Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS) to provide essential medications and health services for child and maternal health and a few others. This is a government intervention put in place since and has achieved little progress towards achieving the desired goal.
This highlights the importance of private sector engagement to help improve the health industry. For example, supply chain management has been a global concern and necessity of health care to help ensure that patients get the right drug, in the right quantity, in the right condition, in the right place, at the right time and at the right cost.
Supply chain management is a generational perspective that could help raise sufficient resource for health care via reduced or eliminated waste, strategic purchasing/manufacture and efficient use of available resources. With health care supply chain management, medicines, device and other products required by health professionals to carry out their jobs are adequately controlled and efficiently used.
Most importantly, the engagement of private-sector led supply chain of health products and services would help curb the menace of circulating fake and substandard drugs as well as wastage of health resources.
More promising than supply chain management for young professionals of my generation is; innovation, especially technological innovations.
No country’s economy achieves sustainable best practices by sticking unconventional tools and practice models. All around us are countries making conscious efforts to adapt to global changes by investing and imbibing technological innovation to pharmacy, health and its practice.
Examples of this include:
• Masha meds- A Kenyan startup on pharmacy management that helps pharmacy owners own cloud-based android app which is a point of scale system that facilitates the procurement of patients data.
• M-TIBA- A mobile health wallet and a digital platform that allows users to save for healthcare services and facilitates the availability of patients financial and medical data and information on the health facility visited.
• Rwanda in partnership with Philip’s and Amref enterprise uses drones to urgently deliver blood supply to health facilities.
• Even in Nigeria there have been alot of innovative health startups although without appropriate recognition or funding and one of such which gained global recognition is the story of the 3 school girls who developed an app that detects counterfeit drugs.
The striking thing about these innovations is that they are championed by the private sector and by young entrepreneurial professionals. This goes to show that the major stakeholders necessarily engaged in navigating the practice of health and pharmacy In Nigeria includes the private and public sectors having the young professionals at the fore front! Thus, health organizations, bodies or associations should focus on engaging and empowering the young professionals to tackle current health problems through effective supply chain models and technological expertise.
It is no longer news that Virtual Reality, Big Data and the Internet of Things when being applied in pharmacy and pharmaceuticals have placed the developed countries at the fore-front of health care. We can achieve this too by properly harnessing the human resource and diversity the younger generation affords us. Let us have more health innovation hubs, internship opportunities in the private sector (An example is internship opportunity at African Resource Centre for supply chain management), grants for startups and enlightenment campaigns on the need for innovation in health care – even at the university level.
Why is this perspective important?
Lack of adequate health care affects the economy by increasing out-of-pocket expenditures. The lack of good health care also results in a weakened workforce. Consequently, health innovations and sufficient management will promote the growth of the economy via employment, saved cost on health services, reduced wastage, etcetera.
There is a need for us to stop relying solely on external interventions because we can, and need to, be our own solution.
We understand our problems the best and thus are in the better position to invent solutions that suits our local communities. This is a generational perspective on navigating the winds of change of professional practice in a volatile economy.
Nigeria GDP Annual growth rate (2018,December 10) retrieved from,https://tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/gdp-growth-annual
The Logistics Handbook: A Practical Guide for Supply Chain Managers in Family Planning and Health Programs. Arlington, Va.: USAID | DELIVER PROJECT.
Shruti(2016,August),GBChealth retrieved October2019, from http://gbchealth.org/innovations-in-health-for-africa-from-africa/
Nigerian health watch(2018, March 22),What the BHCPF has got to do with it? retrieved October2019, from https://nigeriahealthwatch.com/whats-the-bhcpf-got-to-do-with-it-the-universal-health-coverage-dialogue/#.XbgeNrffswA