IMPROVING HEALTH OF NIGERIANS REQUIRES CONCERTED EFFORTS OF STAKEHOLDERS -MINISTER
The Minister of State for Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire has said that improving the health of Nigerians required concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the health sector noting that no sacrifice or effort would be too much to undertake to promote health.
The minister stated this in Benin, Edo state when he formally declared open the operationalisation workshop of the Saving One Million Lives Program for Result (SOML PforR) organised for South-South and South-East zones.
He said that the present administration would implement a cardinal philosophy of ‘Every life Counts’ adding that the implication of this is that ‘Every death would also count’.
‘‘We shall operate under the guiding principles of Accountability, Transparency and Rule of Law,’’ he said.
Dr.Ehanire explained that SOML PforR approach was consistent with federal government’s goal for Universal Health Coverage adding that it was also in line with other strategic documents such as the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) and the National Vision20:2020.
He clarified that SOML PforR does not seek to establish new interventions, but rather to give a new lease of life to existing Strategic Health Plan through an innovative financing mechanism as well as through collaboration with Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations and Communities.
The $1.5 million US Dollars disbursed on the 14th of July 2016, he said was meant as an initial investment grant to each state and the federal capital territory.
He noted that though the program allows some flexibility in fund use, the expenditure items, he said must support the improvement of Primary Health care services with focus on achieving results adding that each state would only receive additional disbursements following verified improvements in results.
‘’With the SOML PforR, we are not replacing the responsibility of the State Governments to improve the health status of their citizens; rather, we are providing an incentive to encourage states to do more. All SOML PforR funds are additional, and are not a substitution for the budgets for health. Remember however, No Results, No Reward’’. He said.
While pointing out that SOML PforR was a performance- based grant to all the thirty-six (36) States of the Federation and the FCT, a significant step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, he encouraged the participating states at the workshop to strongly channel these funds to support efforts that would increase service delivery and enable them improve on their health outcomes.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs.Binta Adamu Bello who was represented by Dr. (Mrs.) Bimpe Adebiyi, Director, Family Health in the Ministry said that the APC administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, was determined to improve the health of Nigerians at all levels of the society especially at the grassroots.
She noted that SOML-PforR was a new strategy employed to save the lives of mothers and children which was in line with the Change Mantra of the present Administration.
She expressed optimism that the programme had a collateral benefit with multiplier effect thereby increasing access to, and utilisation of a set of high impact essential commodities and services thus improving maternal and child health in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, the World Bank Country Representative, Benjamin Loevin Sohm said the Save One Million Lives was launched in 2012 to engender improvement in maternal and child health with particular focus on achieving results.
He explained that the SOML Programme focuses on six important pillars to include improving maternal, newborn and child health, Improving routine immunization coverage and achieving polio eradication, Elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV, Scaling up access to essential medicines and commodities, malaria control and improving child nutrition.