Experts Task FG, States On Healthcare Reform

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By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City

To improve quality and reduce cost of accessing healthcare, federal and state governments should direct reforms and policies towards delivering primary healthcare, health insurance for the poor and allow private sector actors to handle tertiary and emergency healthcare.

This was the submission of experts during the plenary on social welfare targeted at healthcare at the Alaghodaro Investment Summit, organised at the weekend by the Edo State government, in Benin City.

The minister of state for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was the discussion leader at the plenary, said that the Edo State government is on the verge of domesticating the National Health Act, noting that the move will greatly improve healthcare delivery in the state.

According to him, “Not only is the Edo State government on the verge of domesticating the National Health Act, it is also working to have a health insurance scheme that will cover all. The state will also serve as a pilot for the implementation of the primary healthcare programme.”

Former Chief Medical Director at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Michael Ibadin, said that there was need for more private sector participation in healthcare delivery.

Arguing that the dominance of government in health sector has stifled growth, he said, “We can improve healthcare delivery when we get more private sector participation. When we do this, we would have less incessant strikes. There is evidence that private hospitals are delivering good services. But most people have been left to suffer because a lot of people depend on service in public hospitals. We need this trend to change.”