Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Monday in Abuja advocated the adoption of simple household health practices that would change poor health behaviours and reduce disease burden.
Ehanire made the call at the presentation and dissemination of the Revised National Health Promotion Policy (2019) and Ancillary Strategy Policy Documents.
He observed that poor health behaviours were still rampant in the rural communities and such behaviours could be changed with the adoption of simple household health practices.
According to him, Nigeria’s major health policy documents – the National Health Act of 2014 and the National Health Policy 2016 agree that health promotion is Nigeria’s means to reducing overall burden of disease.
“The policy documents concur that health promotion is Nigeria’s means to reducing burden of disease through behaviour and lifestyle changes, but the reality around institutionalisation of health promotion, does not yet support the contention.
“Going forward, we shall make diligent effort to uncover challenges around health promotion and programming.
“We have developed policy and strategic documents that should see health promotion become a contributor to the achievement of the health-related Sustainable Development Goal 3, and attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
“We must also realise that addressing the question of the social determinants of health and achieving health equity requires actions and partnerships, which stretch beyond the health sector,” the minister said.
He urged all stakeholders to join hands with the health ministry to examine the determinants of health from Nigeria’s diverse vantage points.
Ehanire presented the five Health Promotion Strategic Policy documents and said a result-oriented sub-national level launch and dissemination would follow.
The strategic policy documents include the National Health Promotion Policy 2019, the National Strategic Plan for Health Promotion 2020-2024 (the maiden five-year plan) and the Knowledge Management Guideline for Health Promotion 2020-2024.
The other documents are the Counselling Flip Chart on Key Household Practices and the Counselling Flip Chart on Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing.
The National Health Promotion Policy 2019 seeks to contribute to achieving Nigeria’s National Health Policy commitment to deliver preventive, curative, protective, restorative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare to every citizen.
The National Strategic Plan for Health Promotion 2020-2024 (the maiden five-year plan) showcases Nigeria‘s commitment to bridging the gap between policy and implementation, while Knowledge Management Guideline for Health Promotion 2020-2024 is a tool to guide the fundamental requirement to institutionalise knowledge management practices for health promotion.
The Counselling Flip Chart on Key Household Practices seeks to empower individuals with right information, knowledge, and skills to improve health seeking behaviour by adopting simple practices that improve child survival, maternal, adolescent and elderly health, growth and development.
The Counselling Flip Chart on Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing is the document designed to empower individuals with the appropriate information and knowledge to find outlets for safe and trusted family planning services.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, pledged the Senate’s commitment to the implementation the policies and documents.
“We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our people; we need to look at the policies in a broader way, behaviour, social and environmental factors and we are working on Bills to address them,” he said.
The Commissioner for Health in Cross River, Dr Betta Edu, who spoke virtually on behalf commissioners of health, also pleaded commitment to the implementation of the policies at the state level.
“At the state level, we have a robust system to step the information in the documents down to the local government level and the local government will step it down to the grassroots,” she said.