Targets Digitalisation, Research, Others
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
Committed to the wellness of Nigerians, the Federal Government has unveiled four-point agenda that would lead to massive transformation in the health sector.
Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate stated this on Saturday in Abuja at a maiden world press briefing on the renewed hope agenda for the sector.
The event, which also coincided with his 100 days in office, was followed by a 3- day ministerial briefing organised by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from 7th -9th September 2023.
One of the objectives of the briefing was to intimate Nigerians on the realities of the health and social welfare sector, as well as to create an ambitious and realistic blueprint for Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Reeling out the first agenda, Pate hinted that his administration would improve on quality of governance in the health sector by appraising the performance of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and Tertiary Health Institutions.
He said though there are lots of potentials in health care deliverables, that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the state government are imbued with higher responsibilities to safeguard the health of Nigerians.
The minister harped on the need to strengthen the regulatory capacity of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and work with state governments to improve their regulatory function at the supply chain level.
He assured that his administration is committed to improving transparency and accountability in the sector in order to renew health for Nigerians, promising to implement the National Healthcare Act.
Pate listed the second agenda as the improvement of population health outcomes, which he believed would address diseases like measles, diphtheria, vaccine preventable diseases and reduce incidences of maternal and neo-natal deaths.
He disclosed that non-communicable diseases are prevalent, saying that he would upgrade infrastructure across the hospitals and ensure that quality of services are measured and made visible.
The minister informed that Nigeria needed to priortise health spending, noting that rejiging the sector required active collaboration between the government and healthcare professionals.
He pointed out that the third agenda centered on medical value chain or industrialisation, saying that unlocking the healthcare value chain is vital as it would increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create new jobs for the economy.
Pate lamented that 70 per cent of pharmaceuticals and over 90 per cent of medical devices are imported from smaller countries, yet many Nigerian youths are unemployed.
On health security which is the fourth agenda, the minister said that epidemics like Lassa fever, cholera and meningitis would occur because of poor health security.
He promised to join forces with other governments and strengthen the public health system to serve Nigerians better, adding that the Federal Government would respond to outbreak of diseases faster, as was achieved during the Ebola and polio pandemic.
The minister reiterated its commitment to delivering on the expectations of President Bola Tinubu for the health sector.
On his part, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa noted that Mr President’s determination to fix the heathcare system was not an empty promise but such that would tackle healthcare headlong.
He recalled that when Tinubu was the then governor of Lagos State, he met a sorry state of healthcare in Lagos and made the same commitment to Lagosioans.
“Within few years, Lagos became the best performing state in all the sectors and more importantly, the health sector. He (Tinubu) is determined to replicate the transformation in Lagos healthcare system to all health facilities across the country. He wants to give Nigerians basic good and comprehensive healthcare,” he added.
Alausa hinted that the ministry would commence the digitalisation of healthcare system, as absence of good and validated data is like throwing darts in the dark.
He stated that heathcare professionals must ensure that the data gathered are accurate, validated and would be trusted internationally.
On research, he disclosed that the ministry would rectify all research institutions and make them work collaboratively.
He said that many researchers are struggling since there are no funds to sustain their works, promising to invest more on research.
This, he believed would make Nigeria self-dependent on pharmaceuticals and provide more robust and directional platforms.
Targets Digitalisation, Research, Others