(From Fred Ezeh, Abuja)
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday that Nigeria’s health system has not fared so badly so far in the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Nonetheless, the Minister said Nigeria has good reason to also examine its not-so-strong health care system, hence the need for regular interactions with relevant stakeholders as well as local and foreign donor agencies on the best way to improve the health care delivery system in Nigeria.
Speaking at a meeting with heads of agencies, directors of departments under the Ministry, lawmakers, and several other relevant stakeholders in Abuja, the Minister said that his Ministry is the key Ministry of the Federal Government playing important role in President Buhari’s Next Level Agenda in terms of human capital development for socio-economic growth.
He said: “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, and also coordinate development of required human resources for health and the infrastructure needed.”
The Minister, however, confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the nine-point, medium-term plan to reinvigorate the push for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
The points include implementation of mandatory health insurance, operationalization of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), as well as recruitment and deployment of 50,000 community health extension workers, and revamping federal teaching hospitals across the country.
Others are a collaboration with private sector investors to establish high-quality hospitals in Nigeria, reduction of gaps in all health-related SDGs by 60 per cent, reduction in an imbalance between primary, secondary, and tertiary health care system, active collaboration with the private sector to create jobs for youths; and contribution to the realisation of the President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
Heads of different agencies as well as Directors of different departments under the Ministry made presentations to showcase their accomplishments in the passing year, and also enumerate their plans for the coming year.
The Minister also used the opportunity to present the revised guidelines for the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF)