Healthcare leaders from across Africa agreed that good government regulations, financing, leadership and management strategies will increase universal health coverage in Africa at the Medic West Africa Exhibition and Conference held in Lagos recently.
Under the chairmanship of the Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Osagie Ehanire, experts at the conference with the theme, “Laying the Foundation for the Provision of Primary Healthcare in West Africa,” explored systematic developments in health care, globally and nationally, in a bid to promote universal health coverage and also enable the successful development of a sustainable healthcare system in West Africa.
Key topics addressed include; basic healthcare funding, universal healthcare coverage, public health preparedness and response, national health insurance and the role of the private and public health sectors.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, stated that government policies are essential to accommodating sustainable health care goals in Nigeria. He explained that health budget in Nigeria is ranked number 11 in terms of capital expenditure, and remains a low focus area in national budget. He said “achieving universal health access is an important at all levels of government, from the federal to the local government and requires committed human resources, from doctors to nurses.
“We need everyone to participate in pushing the sector forward. The government has shown its commitment from the NHIS to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHPF, and also the recent partnerships with the private sector to drive growth within the sector and meet current primary healthcare challenges in Nigeria.”
Deputy Minister of Health, Ghana, Dr Alex Abban, reiterated the value of the private sector in establishing a healthcare system that is advanced and sustainable. In his remark, he said, “the health care challenges in Nigeria are not different from the ones that exist in Ghana. Proper collaborations with the private sector from concept to realisation within the health care sector are extremely important. The private sector should not be seen as competitors, but as collaborators who will contribute their own quota towards achieving universal health coverage by 2030.”