World Bank study blames low productivity for poor service delivery

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A research report has revealed that low productivity of workers rather than the availability of personnel or geographical structures are the factors responsible for poor service delivery in Nigeria’s education and health sectors.

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While appealing for increased spending, the study, which was conducted by the World Bank in partnership with the African Economic Research Consortium and the African Development Bank Group, suggested improved services to address the identified issues.

At a two-day workshop with the media and civil society organisations in Abuja, which was organised by AERC and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Dr. Opeyemi Fadeyibi, Service Delivery Indicators Field Coordinator at the World Bank, said: “Low productivity of workers may be attributed to several causes including low levels of technical knowledge required to deliver services, low levels of provider effort, lack of motivation to work and absence of necessary input to deliver services.”

The overall objective of the SDI project is to gauge the quality of service delivery in primary education and basic health services and to provide a set of robust measures for benchmarking service delivery performance in Africa.

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It is expected that this will enable the governments and citizens identify gaps and to track progress over time.

It is envisaged that the high public awareness and persistent focus on these indicators will mobilise policymakers, citizens, service providers and donors to ensure and enforce accountability along the service delivery value chains.

The workshop was organised to create high level public awareness about the state of quality of service delivery in health and education sectors in Nigeria in order to sensitise the media and civil society organisations to support the process of bringing about positive change in service delivery performance and possible policy actions for better quality service delivery in the two critical sectors.

The education survey was conducted in four states – Anambra, Ekiti, Niger and Bauchi – with data collected in June 2013. It focused on primary schools, teachers and publics, while the Federal Ministry of Education assisted the World Bank in the exercise.

The result revealed that school absence rate was 13.7 per cent in the entire sample area with public schools recording 16.9 per cent absence rate as against 5.5 per cent for private schools.

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Reasons for absence by the teachers included field trip (25.7 per cent), illness (19.9%), retrieving salary (10.2 per cent) and maternity leave (9.2 per cent).

In the area of teacher competence, only 36.8 per cent of the surveyed teachers were found competent in Mathematics and another 46.3 per cent in English Language, while a mere 15.3 per cent demonstrated ability in pedagogy.

The health sector survey was conducted between June 2013 and January 2014 in 12 states with a random selection of two states for each of the six geo-political zones.

These are: Osun, Ekiti, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bauchi, Taraba, Nasarawa and Kogi States.

The Federal Ministry of Health assisted the World Bank to conduct the survey, which focused on primary health care, secondary facilities, health care providers and end users of health care.

The study revealed that only 19.8 per cent of the sample area professionals with ability to manage maternal and newborn complication. Specifically, there were 33.2 per cent medical doctors across the sample area, 23.9 per cent nurses or midwifes, 13.6 per cent community health workers and 12.4 per cent other professionals.

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For availability of drugs, health posts had 46.9 per cent, 47.3 per cent for health centres and 63 per cent in the hospitals, while hospitals scored only 1.8 per cent of vaccines.

AERC stated that availability of infrastructure such as toilets, clean water and electricity was a key challenge, especially the availability of improved toilets, which stands at merely 34 per cent of health facilities.

Obadia Miroro, Assistant Knowledge Manager at AERC, said about 51 per cent of health facilities had met the minimum medical equipment requirements, which included a thermometer, any weighing scale, sphygmomanometer, stethoscope for health posts, and additionally sterilising equipment and a refrigerator for health centres and hospitals.

Health facilities, on average, had 49 per cent of all essential drugs available at time of the survey.

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