BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Federal Government has inaugurated National Tertiary Health Institutions Standards Committee (NTHISC) made up of seasoned professionals with varied experience in healthcare management.
Members of the committee, who are supported by the statutory regulatory bodies in the health sector are mandated to improve the governance of health system.
At the swearing-in ceremony of the committee on Thursday in Abuja, Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa informed that the members were carefully selected from the six geopolitical zones in the country as enshrined in the National Health Act, 2014.
Alausa stated that governance of health systems is the first pillar of the current administration’s focus, adding that other pillars include population health outcomes, unlocking the value chain, and health security.
The members were chosen to ensure compliance and introduce high level of standards in tertiary hospitals in line with global best practices.
They are made up of Chief Executives of Tertiary Health Institutions, represented by Dr Adedamola Dada of Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta, and Prof Ahmed Ahidjo of University of Maiduguri.
The Registrars of the 14 regulatory bodies in the health sector are also statutory members. The regulatory bodies include National Postgraduate Medical College, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Registration Board(MRTB) and Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (MLSCN).
Others are Dental Therapists Registration Board, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board, Community Health Practitioners Registration Board (CHPRBN), Dental Technologist Registration Board of Nigeria (DTRBN), Institute of Chartered Chemist of Nigeria, Health Records Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) and Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN).
The secretary of the committee is the director and head of the Department of Hospital Services, Dr Salaudeen Jimoh, while other members cut across the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Alausa said that the committee may be directed to carry out certain functions apart from the specifics enshrined in the National Health Act.
He informed that the Department of Hospital Services of the Ministry has been mandated to support the committee’s routine activities.
The functions of the committee are to advise the minister on matters affecting the establishment of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria, and prepare periodic master plans for the balanced and coordinated development of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria.
They are also expected to establish minimum standards for various tertiary health facilities in the nation and inspect and accredit such facilities, and make relevant investigations and recommendations to the federal and state governments on tertiary health care services.
The committe will also advise the federal government on the financial needs, both recurrent and capital, of tertiary health services and investigate and study the financial needs for training, research and services and make appropriate recommendations.
Other roles are to set standards and criteria for the allocation of funds from the federal government to tertiary health institutions, monitor their utilisation, and source for grants as laid down by the committee.
The committee will also collate, analyse, and publish information about tertiary health care services annually; lay down broad operational guidelines for the tertiary hospitals management board; and monitor and evaluate all activities, receive annual reports from the tertiary hospitals and supervise annual peer review.
They will also carry out other activities that are conducive to the discharge of their functions under the National Health Act.
When fully operational, the committee is expected to strengthen and guide the Subnational Health Institution Standard Committee
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Daju Kachollom promised to support the committee by providing adequate funds and enabling environment for them to achieve the set goals.
She said that the nation awaits positive shift in the status of terrtiary health services through the contributions of the committee.
Chairman of the Committee, Prof Phillip Abiodun expressed the committee’s determination and readiness to assist the government in addressing medical tourism that leads to enormous loss of revenue, Japa syndrome with its massive loss of qualified manpower in the health sector, perennial industrial unrest and poor health condition of the populace.
Abiodun tasked the ministry to support the committee by providing all the necessary resources for the discharge of their duties effectively.
He promised that the committee will regularly consult and brief the minister and other relevant authorities on issues related to the health sector.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja