Top Health Agencies in Nigeria and Their Functions

This post contains the various top health agencies in Nigeria and their functions. These health agencies or parastatals are under the Federal Ministry of Health and they are tasked with different duties to ensure that adequate healthcare policies are effectively formulated and implemented. Below is a list of the top federal government parastatals in the health sector.

NCDC Offices and Laboratories Addresses in Nigeria

LIST OF HEALTH AGENCIES IN NIGERIA AND THEIR DUTIES OR ROLES

NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL (NCDC)

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is a top federal government health agency that is mandated to ensure the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies in the country. Steps to establish this federal health agency commenced in 2011 when some departments in the Ministry of Health such as the Epidemiology Division, the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Project and its laboratories; and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) were merged to form the core of the organization. The Bill for an Act to establish the NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Functions of NCDC include:

  • Prevent, detect, and control diseases of public health importance.
  • Coordinate surveillance systems to collect, analyse and interpret data on diseases of public health importance.
  • Support States in responding to small outbreaks, and lead the response to large disease outbreaks.
  • Develop and maintain a network of reference and specialized laboratories.
  • Conduct, collate, synthesize and disseminate public health research to inform policy.
  • Lead Nigeria’s engagement with the international community on diseases of public health relevance

NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME (NHIS)

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is one of the most popular health insurance agencies in the country. This federal government owned health agency was established under Act 35 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in order to ensure that all Nigerians get access to quality healthcare at an affordable cost through various flexible prepayment systems.

The NHIS operates by ensuring the provision of social health insurance in Nigeria in which health care services of contributors are paid from the common pool of funds contributed by the participants of the scheme. This means that the scheme is a pre-payment plan where participants pay a fixed regular amount and it is from this pooled fund that the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) pay for those who need medical attention. The NHIS regulates private health insurance operated by HMOs.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (NIPRD)

The NIPRD is a top government agency under the federal ministry of health that is tasked with ensuring the advancement of indigenous pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) so as to enhance development and commercialization of pharmaceutical raw materials, drugs and biological products.

The NIPRD was established in 1987 after the Federal Government of Nigeria gave the nod to set up the agency as a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology based on the recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). It was established under the Science and Technology Act of 1980 with the aim of developing drugs, biological products and pharmaceutical raw materials from indigenous resources. The organization commenced operations officially in 1989.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) contributed financially to ensure that the institute was up and running.

Functions of the NIPRD include the following:

  • Undertake research and development work on drugs, biological products including vaccines and pharmaceutical raw materials from indigenous natural resources and by synthesis using appropriate science and technology methodologies.
  • Conduct appropriate investigations and consequent applications in the areas of evaluation, preservation, purification, standardization, safety and rational utilization of traditional medicine.
  • Develop methodologies for quality assessment of biological products, orthodox and herbal medicines including their raw materials.
  • Serve as reference centre for research work on the biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, storage and stability of imported and locally manufactured drugs and biological products.
  • Conduct research and development work into pharmaceutical biotechnology, nutrition, cosmetics and environmental science for improved quality oflife and the conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants.
  • Establish and operate a quality assurance laboratory for pharmaceutical raw materials and products.
  • Promote and sponsor staff development; through training courses, workshops, and fellowship within and outside Nigeria.
  • Promote and sponsor the local development and production of drugs, vaccines pharmaceutical machinery, devices and accessories.
  • Promote the pilot production unit of the Institute into a limited liability business venture.
  • Transfer pharmaceutical products and machinery technologies to private sector industries, and render consultancy and extension services to such and other organizations.
  • Establish and maintain relevant laboratories, clinics, medicinal plant gardens in strategic ecological zones of Nigeria as may be’ necessary for the performance of the functions.
  • Compile and publish relevant data resulting from the performance of the functions ofthe Institute.
  • Sponsor such national and international conferences, workshops, and symposia, as may be considered appropriate.
  • Patent and register new products and processes with appropriate national bodies, international organizations, and selected countries.
  • Enter into commercial and other appropriate agreements with relevant national and multinational corporations regarding the marketing and utilization of the Institute’s products and services.
  • Liaise with higher institutions, government organizations, multinational bodies and other relevant establishments within and outside Nigeria in the pursuance of the mandate ofthe Institute.
  • Establish and develop drug information system, collate and synthesize relevant research information for drug manufacturing industries and research centres.

NATIONAL AGENCY FOR THE CONTROL OF AIDS (NACA)

The National Agency for the Control of Aids, NACA was established as the National Action Committee on Aids in February 2000 to coordinate the various activities of HIV/AIDS in the country. Since inception, this top health agency in the country has recorded a steady decline in HIV and AIDS prevalence from a peak of 5.8% in 2001 to 3.0% in 2014.

Functions of NACA include the following:

  • Plan and coordinate activities of the various sectors in the National Response Strategic Framework;
  • Facilitate the engagement of all tiers of government and all sectors on issues of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support;
  • Advocate for the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS interventions into all sectors of the society;
  • Formulate policies and guidelines on HIV/AIDS;
  • Support HIV/AIDS research in the country;
  • Mobilize resources (local and foreign) and coordinate equitable application for HIV/AIDS activities;
  • Provide and coordinate linkages with the global community on HIV/AIDS;
  • Monitor and evaluate all HIV/AIDS activities in the country;
  • Facilitate the development and management of the policies and strategies of all sectors to ensure the human, financial and organizational resources to support the successful execution of the national HIV/AIDS response programme.
  • Establish, encourage and promote training programme for the employees of the Agency and other appropriate persons from public or private organizations;
  • Perform such functions as may, from time to time be assigned to it by the Government; and
  • Facilitate collaboration for the management of HIV and opportunistic infections.

NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC)

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is a top health agency under the Federal Ministry of Health that was established in January 1993, under the Presidency of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida for the purpose of regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and detergents and packaged water in Nigeria. NAFDAC was founded in order to checkmate illicit and counterfeit products in Nigeria based on the country’s health and safety laws.

Functions of NAFDAC include the following:

  • Regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water, Chemicals and detergents (Regulated Products)
  • Conduct appropriate tests and ensure compliance with standard specifications designated and approved by the Council for effective control of quality of regulated products and their raw materials as well as their production processes in factories and other establishments
  • Undertake appropriate investigation into the production premises and raw materials for regulated products and establish relevant quality assurance systems, including certification of the production sites and of the regulated products
  • Undertake inspection of imported regulated products and establish relevant quality assurance systems, including certification of the production sites.Compile standard specifications regulations and guidelines for the production, importation, exportation, sales, distribution and registration of regulated products
  • Undertake the registration of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices bottled water, Chemicals and detergents
  • Control the exportation and issue quality certification of products intended for export
  • Establish and maintain relevant laboratories or other institutions in strategic areas of Nigeria as may be necessary for the performance of its functions
  • Pronounce on the quality and safety of Products after appropriate analysis
  • Take measures to ensure that the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are limited to only medical and scientific purposes
  • Grant authorization for the import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as well as other controlled substances
  • Collaborate with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the bid to eradicate drug abuse in Nigeria
  • Advice Governments, the private sector and other interested bodies regarding the quality, safety and regulatory provisions on regulated products
  • Issue guidelines, grant approvals and monitor the advertisement of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water, Chemicals and detergents
  • Compile and publish relevant data resulting from the performance of the functions of the Agency or from other sources
  • Sponsor such national and International conferences as may be considered appropriate
  • Liaise with relevant establishments within and outside Nigeria in pursuance of its functions and
  • Carry out such activities as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its functions.

NATIONAL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NPHCDA)

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA is a top government health agency that was established in 1992 and merged with the National Programme on Immunization (NPI) in 2007. The agency has made remarkable and innovative progress over the years in the development of Primary Health Care, focusing on the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in every part of the country, resulting in Nigeria being placed in the front rank of countries in the world that have advanced the process of equitably improving the health and quality of life of its people through primary health care.

Functions of the NPHCDA include:

  • Control Preventable Diseases: Eradicate polio, and limit the occurrence and impact of diseases using education, immunization and other proven interventions.
  • Improve access to Basic Health Services: Make basic health services available by ensuring communities have access to health facilities, services and basic health insurance.
  • Improve quality of care: Ensure basic health services are people-oriented and delivered according to established quality standards and protocols.
  • Strengthen the institution: Strengthen Zonal structures, State representation, internal communications, monitoring and evaluation, procurement and the financial management system.
  • Develop high-performing health workforce: Organize systems and structures to deliver effective support services through, for example, PHC guidelines, norms and enabling acts for states and LGAs
  • Strengthen partnerships: Mobilize and coordinate stakeholders such as Ministries, Departments and Agencies and development partners to support the implementation of PHC.
  • Strengthen community engagement: Promote community participation, ownership and responsibility for health through Ward Development Committees and communication and programmes.

NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH (NIMR)

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Yaba, Lagos, was established in 1977. It is a top health agency in Nigeria that is involved in conducting research into diseases of public health importance in Nigeria, as well as developing structures for the dissemination of research findings.

NIMR provides the enabling environment and facilities for health research and training in cooperation with the federal and state ministries of health and in collaboration with universities, allied institutions and organized private sector nationally and internationally. Until the establishment of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), NIMR was the only medical research facility in the country.

NIMR focuses on scientific area of research in Biochemistry and Nutrition, Virology Vaccinology, Immunology, Health system and policy research, Reproductive, Maternal and Childhood diseases Research, Clinical Science, Microbiology, Molecular biology, Biotechnology and public Health, with studies that focus on diseases of greatest public health importance in the country. These include: Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Schistosomiasis, Helicobacter Pylori, and Typhoid.

Functions of NIMR include:

  • To conduct research into Communicable Diseases of Public Health importance in the country
  • To conduct research into Non-Communicable Diseases prevalent in the country
  • To conduct research into basic, applied and operational research for the prevention and control of diseases endemic in the country in co-operation with the Federal and State Ministries of Health
  • To develop human and infrastructural capacities for clinical and biomedical research in collaboration with Medical Schools, Universities and other Health-related Institutions, in and outside Nigeria
  • To disseminate the results of health research in the country through training courses, scientific publications, conferences, workshops and other communication channels to the Federal and States Ministries of Health, relevant stakeholders in the Public and Private sectors as well as the general public.

The Author

Maduawuchi Obialo

Maduawuchi Obialo is the founder of Nigerian Guide and an Editor at Nigerian Infopedia. He is a professional Web Content Developer and a Biochemist.

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