Health commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation, under the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum (NHCF), have come together to brainstorm on partnerships and policies for a resilient health sector and advancement of Universal Health Coverage(UHC) in the country.
Speaking during the forum’s 2-day quarterly meeting, tagged: “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership” held in Abuja, chairman of the forum, Dr Betta Edu, who is also the health commissioner for Cross River State, called for improved collaboration among stakeholders within the health sector.
She also advocated for more intervention and support from development partners, saying “We are pleading with our partners for more support and intervention in an integrated manner. The vertical programming and silos will lead to duplication and might not help in building a resilient health system.
“We are pleading that our partners to work with the ministry of health at the various State levels to provide integrated health care so that we don’t have overlaps and wastage,” she said.
Edu also said that the forum was looking at strengthening the primary health care system which is the foundation of the health system in the country.
She said “we are here to also look into the different roles which the private sector can play to improve health care in Nigeria. Above all, we’ll be looking at strengthening the primary health care system which is the foundation of the health system in Nigeria,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, urged the forum to discuss issues around vaccine hesitancy across the country and come up with solutions.
He said “You should in the course of this meeting, deliberate on the challenges caused by vaccine hesitancy all over the country. It is expected that you will come with policy alternatives as solutions.
“The federal government also expects that you will find time as policy and decision makers, to also address the root causes of incessant labour crisis in the health sector”.
On his part, the minister of state for health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said there was need for increased funding for the health, saying the basic underlying factors around issues and challenges in the sector is funding.
“Even if you have enough human resources in the health sector, you need to take care of emoluments, incentives, therefore you need funding period that is why we need to find ways of increasing the funding in the health sector.
“We need to begin to tax commodities like alcohol, cigarettes, etc., which causes a lot of damage to the human body; therefore, the where the whole thing will end is in the health sector, therefore increasing the spending in the health sector. That is why we are saying that if people take these things, let us find a way to put some tax on it so that we can get some money to fund the health sector in addition to existing funding structures.”