BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised the Nigerian government to create an emergency funding for health emergencies to minimise impact of health challenges on the country’s population and economy. The organization said Nigeria needs to build a resilient and inclusive health system.
“We should have some contingency funding for health emergencies. Beyond that, we need to make sure that we have the framework for financing capacities for preparedness and response. As a country, we need to stand on our own two feet and not rely too much on outside that has proved impossible,” WHO’s representative to Nigeria, Walter Kazadi Mulombo said yesterday at a workshop for financing health security in Nigeria.
WHO said Nigeria does not need to rely on other countries for medical attention. “As COVID has shown, reliance, beyond your boarders both for health and security cannot be guaranteed. Countries closed their boarders and you have to rely on your system.”
The workshop was organized to come up with a national agender on how to finance health security in the country. It was held at the headquarters of the federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Also, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said Nigeria would need more funding to build a resilient health system. “To build our long-term resilience, we need to fund health security in Nigeria, we need to fund the various Ministries, Department and Agencies that have a role to play in health security,” he stated.
He said the workshop was important for concerned government agencies to make sure the country gets its budgeting right, identify the priorities, make the case for those investments in those areas and commence planning and advocating with purpose.
Ihekweazu said the NCDC has been able to use the substantial intervention funds received from government, private sector, UN and other partners to build up “our health infrastructure in public health. From 3-4molecular lab, we now have 120 labs across the country that have diagnostic capacity not only for COVID but for everything else. We’ve built up our treatment capacity and digitalised our surveillance system.”
Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed said her ministry is advocating for funding of health security. She said the ministry advocated for resources to enable the country prioritize its responses to the global health crises in order to minimize the nations risk both at national and subnational levels.
“It’s my honest expectations that this workshop will help to identify the bottlenecks hindering benefits of health funding at the federal level, equip frontline workers with skills to maximize the body of process in their various MDAs while we prepare to expand advocacy for state level advocacy for health security,” Mrs Ahmed who was represented by the director-general of budget office of the federation, Ben Akabueze said.