To address the need for universal healthcare coverage, there’s need to focus on equitable and comprehensive health financing.
Embarking on a transformative journey, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Development, has unveiled an ambitious plan to fortify the nation’s healthcare landscape.
The roadmap involves bolstering resilience, empowering the workforce, and embracing a digital transformation, signalling a strategic shift toward a more robust and responsive healthcare system.
Dr Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health and Social Development, said this on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the 64th National Council on Health,(NCH) in Ado-Ekiti.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCH, an apex policymaking body in the Nigerian health sector, annually brings together leaders such as Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners of Health, Heads of Parastatals, and Directors to discuss health-related issues.
The theme for this year meeting, ‘Building the Resilience and Inclusive Health Care System for a Healthy Nigeria,’ underscores the importance of a robust healthcare system, he said. Alausa said that the theme aligns with the directive from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to transform Nigeria’s healthcare system comprehensively and deliver meaningful healthcare to every citizen.
The Minister outlined the transformation goals, including efficient healthcare systems, reduction of maternal and infant mortality, addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), combating infectious diseases, and eliminating malnutrition. He acknowledged deficiencies exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying “there’s a call for a skilled and motivated healthcare workforce.
“The initiatives include increasing student intake and state government’s support for training institutions.”
He highlighted the importance of evidence-based research and called for the development of research ecosystem to generate jobs and attract investment into the healthcare sector. He said that in addressing the need for universal healthcare coverage, there was a focus on equitable and comprehensive health financing.
According to the Minister, “Efforts are underway to strengthen the operationalization of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.” Embracing digitalization in healthcare, the Minister discussed plans for a robust Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system and called for support in navigating digital challenges.
The Minister emphasised collaboration and expressed gratitude for the collective efforts that contributed to the success of the National Council on Health.
Hon. Stephen Adeoye, Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, emphasised the significance of the NCH 64 theme “Building a Resilient and Inclusive Healthcare System for Healthy Nigeria,” saying amid diverse health challenges in the country, it was crucial to unite for policy formation towards a healthier nation.
Dr Oyebanji Filani, Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ekiti State, highlighted the state’s achievements, commitment to healthcare development, and appreciation for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders. Filani emphasised the need for progress in primary healthcare, health insurance expansion, and the successful ‘Ulerawa’ intervention.
Additionally, he said, the state government’s interventions in secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, focusing on infrastructure, equipment, and workforce motivation, were discussed. He mentioned the recent approval of a new salary structure for health workers to address workforce challenges and attract skilled professionals.
He expressed optimism that the decisions made during the council will positively impact the national health system. Chief Moji Makanjuola, speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), emphasised the collaboration between CSOs and the government, underlining their shared commitment to progress in healthcare.
Makanjuola acknowledged the importance of partnership, gratitude for inclusion in forward-looking interventions, and the commitment of CSOs to being partners in progress. She highlighted a collective dedication to improve healthcare delivery services with an emphasis on equity and reaching underserved populations.