The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has on Monday, 7th December, 2020 in Abuja, unveiled the Nigeria’s health sector roadmap which was guided by the President's "Health Sector Next Level Agenda" of 2019. It is a nine point, medium-term plan, to ramp up the push towards Universal Health Coverage.
He enumerated the agenda to include: implementation of Mandatory Universal Health Insurance in collaboration with State governments and the FCT Administration; Operationalization of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in collaboration with partners and agencies; Recruitment and deployment of 50,000 Community Health Extension Workers; Revamping Federal Teaching Hospitals across the country; Collaboration with Private Sector Investors to establish high-quality hospitals in Nigeria; Reduction of gaps in all health-related SDGs by at least 60%; Reduction in the current imbalance between primary, secondary, and tertiary health care; Active, collaboration with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths; and contribution to the realization of Mr. President's June 12 promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
Giving the background, Dr. Ehanire claimed the position of the key Ministry of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Federal Ministry of Health as he said the Ministry plays an important role in President Buhari's Next Level Agenda for human capital development and for socio-economic growth. “Our Ministry is responsible for the National Health system and its performance, and provides strategic support to States, Local Government Areas, the private sector and Development Partners. It coordinates development of required Human Resources for Health and the infrastructure needed.” The Minister also reeled out the achievement and challenges of the Ministry which was further highlighted by the Heads of Departments and Agencies of the Ministry who took turns to make presentation as it concerns the roadmap to the Health sector Development, going forward.
Dr. Ehanire noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the Health Systems of all countries like never before. “Respected and otherwise resilient systems have been nearly brought to their knees by the sheer volume of patients they have to be catered to, and some have had to face embarrassing scarcity of simple items like face masks or sanitizers. All countries will no doubt be re-examining their Health systems which is why it has been said that the COVID-19 outbreak offers an opportunity to restructure, or even rebuild health systems.”
He pointed out that even though Nigeria's health system has not fared so badly so far in the global COVID-19 outbreak, “but we nonetheless have good reason to also examine our not-so-strong Health system, which is why we are here gathered today with Stakeholders, Partners, Donors, Civil Society, Academia, well-wishers and the media. He also reassured that “despite disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic, progress has been made on all points.”
Dr. Ehanire added that COVID-19 itself emphasized the need and provided opportunity to strengthen our health System and assure better coordination among the component institutions and along all tiers of Government, as well as chances to improve synergy with partners, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders.
The Minister of State for Health, in his closing remarks stated that the meeting was borne out of an urgent need to review the performance of the Health Sector not only to ensure that “we are on the right track to achieve our set goals and objectives, but also to identify weaknesses, gaps, disruption and quickly save the sector while improving on our successes. He added that it is an opportunity to render account to Nigerians on how the Health Sector has fared so far in delivering its mandate in line with Mr. President’s vision. He assured Nigerians that “we will not rest on our oars until we achieve quality and affordable health care for all.”
While commending all the Stakeholders especially the Media for their commitment and support in driving the agenda, Dr. Mamora enjoined everyone to collaborate, partner and join hands with the Ministry in moving the Health Sector forward as according to him, health services is not a “solo event but team event.”
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi informed that the event was for the media and other stakeholders to get the chance to seek clarifications, support and contribute towards a Greater Health Sector 2021 and also provides the opportunity to begin the roll-out of the road map so that Nigerians will fully participate in supporting its successful implementation.
Highlights of the event include the unveiling of the revised Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) implementation guideline. The National Health Act (2014) established the BHCPF as one of the key drivers to attaining equitable health for all in Nigeria. Under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the BHCPF implementation began with the appropriation and release of at least one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as provided by the Act. This has set in motion the mechanism to fast track achieving UHC for all.
Dignitaries at the event include:- Chairman, Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Country Representatives of WHO and UNICEF as well as Members of the Civil Society Organization, represented by Prof. Ladipo Oladapo and a host of Media personalities.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & P.R., FMOH.