Why sector is critical in economic development plan, by minister
Following the presentation of the 2018 budget, the Minster of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and the 36 states commissioners for health have said the health sector should be given due priority in the economic development plan.
Adewole, at the 60th National Council on Health (NCH) held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said Nigeria has been bedevilled with several challenges that need to be addressed, such as giving due priority to the health sector, attracting more resources, collective workforce with the various investors and minimizing strike actions among others.
The theme of the 2017 NCH was, “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Health Sector: Matters Arising.” The meeting had the minister of health, the 36 states commissioners for health, donor agencies, partners and other stakeholders deliberate on the issues affecting the health sector, proffering solutions to drive the sector forward as well as presentation of reports on the states’ health system.
Adewole said the theme of the summit, as it relates to the health sector, recognize that Nigeria lags behind in indicators for health because the economic growth has been inequitable, with wealth concentrated in very few hands, adding that to grow and develop the economy sustainably, it is imperative the government improves citizen’s access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Adewole emphasized on the need for the country to identify robust statistics to document epidemic as Nigeria is at its peak, as well as other diseases both communicable and the non-communicable diseases.
“Diseases and epidemic are inevitable, they are always there, the fact that they keep on arising one after the other does not mean they are new. We need robust statistics to really document the data of epidemic and its spread,” adding that the monkey pox outbreak has been contained and taken care of by the Center for Disease Control, with no deaths recorded, except the suicide case in Bayelsa.
He said: “The states are to take ownership of disease preparedness and response activities, while the federal level will continue to provide support for outbreak response activities. States are also to support their public health departments and state epidemiology teams with resources required to adequately prepare and respond to outbreaks. The ultimate aim is for each Nigeria to become surveillance officer and notify designated authorities of disease occurrence either usual or unusual.”
The minister stressed that the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), remain a persistent threat to the health of Nigeria’s population, straining the already struggling healthcare system and compromising the past development gains.
He said this calls for a concerted and sustained effort by all stakeholders to reduce the transmission of the viral diseases in Nigeria as “ government is addressing the issue in collaboration with its partners through more funding and intervention measures in the areas of HIV testing services, prevention of mother to child transmission, ante retroviral therapy, joint HIV/ tuberculosis programme and monitoring, supervision and evaluation of these intervention measures.”
The minister who said the health sector is recovering from the recession that affected the entire economy, stressed that in order to make healthcare affordable and closer to the people, the Federal government pledged to revitalize the primary health centres across the country, with the state actors implementation, adding that the country has about 30, 000 PHCs, with 20 percent of which are functional.
He said the government, to implement its plans, chose to revitalize 10, 000 PHCs in states, with some been commissioned by the president and himself, adding that donor partners have also revitalized thousands of the PHCs nationwide, which is part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) agenda to achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Corroborating the minister, the minister of state for health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said, it was necessary to strengthening and make progress towards a functional health system.
He said the NCH, is a platform that provides opportunity to better align thoughts and cross-fertilize ideas with all stakeholders on the best ways towards achieving the UHC agenda.
He explained that policy making alone can not guarantee achievement of stated goals and objectives, unless followed up by implementation of appropriate steps.
Ehahire, however, pointed that if the availability of adequate resources to finance Nigeria’s UHC plan to revitalize PHC must be ensured, the health sector must start to look inwards to develop dynamic domestic resource mobilization strategies.
Declaring the submit open, the governor of Ogun state, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun charged other states to put priority in improving its health system as the health of every citizen matters, noting that the money lost in medical tourism could be utilized effectively in economic development, if the country’s health system is put in perfect shape.
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