Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said that only a functional and effective healthcare system can stop Nigerians from seeking medical care abroad.
Okowa said this on Tuesday when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdulkaziz Abdullahi, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He commended the Federal Government for launching the Basic Healthcare Fund in the state. He described the initiative as a step towards addressing the gap in facility and healthcare delivery in the country.
He said that the National Health Act was well structured to take care of the health needs of Nigerians.
The governor further said that providing at least one per cent of the national budget for the fund and its implementation would bring about great improvement in the facilities.
He said that the measure would also lead to improved services in health institutions across the country.
Okowa said: “When you are able to take care of the health needs of our people, you will see less number of Nigerians travelling overseas.
“I commend the Federal Government for releasing counterpart fund for the basic healthcare fund and I urge other state governors to also make the counterpart funding of their state fast-track the development of the health sector.
“The health of our people is very important and I believe that this fund even when it is not adequate, will help to provide basic care for all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable and the poor through proper disbursement.
“The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has a lot of work to do to ensure that funds are appropriately channeled.”
Okowa said that the state government was already funding the compulsory health insurance scheme of the vulnerable group in the state.
“We have received over 500,000 enrollees from the formal and non-formal sectors and with the release of the Basic Healthcare Fund to states, we hope to surpass our target of one million enrollees by the year 2023,’’ he said.
Earlier, Abdullahi said that they were in the state to flag-off the Basic Healthcare Fund and lauded Okowa’s administration for its giant strides in the health sector.