The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday said the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak presented the opportunity to structure and even rebuild the country’s health system.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the assertion at the Ministerial Health Sector Media Engagement on the Path to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on Monday in Abuja.
He added that the outbreak brought resilient health systems to their knees.
Ehanire disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had in this second tenure, set a nine-point health sector next level agenda, that would propel the country toward the attainment of the UHC for Nigerians.
The minister noted that the National Health Act (2014) established the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) as one of the key drivers to attaining equitable health for all Nigerians.
“Access to quality health care by all is a necessity for any nation that wants to tap the full potential of its people.
“Under the administration of President Buhari, the BHCPF implementation began with the appropriation and release of at least one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as provided by the Act.
“This has set in motion the mechanism to fast track achieving UHC for all,” he said.
Ehanire noted that the ministry was responsible for the national health system and its performance.
“The Federal Ministry of Health ( FMOH) is working to strengthen accountability and transparency with the establishment of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) at Federal Tertiary hospitals for efficiency and accountability in service delivery.
“It provides strategic support to States, Local Government Areas, the Private Sector and Development Partners.’’
According to the minister, the event is for the media and other stakeholders to get the chance to support and contribute toward a greater health sector in 2021.
“We all need to come on board as active partners to the deliverables of this federal government’s health agenda,” he said.
Ehanire said that the occasion further provided the opportunity to begin the roll-out of the road map so that Nigerians would be part of its successful implementation.
According to him, a lot of efforts have gone into the activity and it will be first of many such activities going forward.
Also, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, said that the challenges of COVID-19 were well-known.
“Let us take this opportunity to demand for more funding for our health sector. We need to do more for Nigerians,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Dr Peter Hawkins, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Country Representative, said that the event played
a critical role in achieving UHC to all Nigerians, regardless of where they lived.
Also speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, said that healthcare delivery must be focused on prevention, rather than cure.
Akinkugbe added that health for all must fulfill the Abuja Declaration and reach the point of putting up to 15 per cent of the budget into healthcare.
“That is the only way we can begin to dream of high quality healthcare,” he highlighted.
In his welcome address, Mr AbdulazizMashi Abdullahi, Permanent Secretary, FMoH, said the event gave the media the opportunity to tell Nigerians what the ministry was doing toward the goal of achieving improved health and UHC in Nigeria.
It was reported that the unveiling of the revised Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) implementation guideline was a highlight of the event.
The National Health Act (2014) established the BHCPF as one of the key drivers to attaining equitable health for all in Nigeria.
Under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the BHCPF implementation began with the appropriation and release of at least one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as provided by the Act.
This has set in motion the mechanism to fast track achieving UHC for all.