Ehanire: FG looking for sustainable financing options for the health sector

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Osagie Ehanire

* WHO and UNICEF seek to improve primary health care

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire said yesterday that the federal government is pushing for a law on a compulsory health insurance scheme in Nigeria, as part of the reforms as well as to revolutionize the financing of the sector.

Ehanire said this in his speech at a special session of the National Board of Health (NCH) meeting held in Abuja.
This is exactly as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have stressed the need to channel more funds towards improving facilities in the various health centers. primary health care of the country.

The minister said the government is implementing innovative digital health technology reforms and building a network of national primary health care centers across the country to bring health care delivery to the grassroots.

“We have come a long way awaiting compulsory health insurance law in Nigeria, critical health sector reform to revolutionize financing and undergo innovative digital health technology reforms. Next to that is the network of national primary health care centers to take care of the base, ”he said.

Ehanire said models of the new primary health care (PHC) centers had been sent to all state governors, adding that each PSC would have staff quarters, an assured water supply, solar aggregates and a voucher. additional human resources for health.
He said PHC is the most important building blocks of the country’s health system and should be prioritized by all states as the platform achieves universal health coverage (UHC).

Regarding the advent of the new variant of Covid-19 -Omicron, Ehanire said the country needs to strengthen its health security architecture to ensure it is ready at all times to detect and respond, in the interests of the health of the population. .

The minister said strong and resilient health systems remain the best line of defense against pandemics and other health threats.
He also said vaccines remained the safest and most cost-effective measure to contain the pandemic so far.

Speaking about the current administration’s efforts and achievements to reposition the health sector, Ehanire said the sector has benefited from several interventions undertaken to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country.

He added that the benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic included the construction of a total of 50 oxygen factories by the federal government and the Global Fund, as well as the importation of thousands of oxygen cylinders to put the oxygen available to all hospitals, as well as part of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), an innovative healthcare system that aimed to make medical services available at the site of the medical emergency with a call telephone.

Ehanire said that over the next four days, the meeting will engage in technical sessions where briefs will be considered and approvals sought for the implementation of resolutions obtained.

Speaking at the event, the UNICEF Country Representative,
Dr Eduardo Celades said the meeting will provide Nigeria with the much-needed opportunity to holistically examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on the health sector and come up with appropriate strategies to better rebuild after the pandemic.

He listed some of the challenges Nigeria should address to include the persistent decline in health expenditure as a share of GDP from 1.20% in 2004 to just 0.58% in 2018, inadequate funding of primary health care services. at point of service delivery and current allocation. 1.5 million naira per service under the basic health care delivery fund which he said was suboptimal.

For his part, WHO Representative in Nigeria Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo said COVID-19 provides Nigeria with a unique opportunity to thoroughly assess existing resources and mechanisms and to better rebuild towards a system more resilient for the future.

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