…As Governor declares open 64th National Council on Health
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji and the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mahammad Ali Pate have stressed the need to explore the theme and sub-theme of the 64th National Council on Health which is “Building Resilient and Inclusive Healthcare Systems for a Healthy Nigeria”, in shaping the future of healthcare indices and outcomes in Nigeria.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 64th National Council on Health (NCH), meeting in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, the Governor and the Coordinating Minister on Health posited that government should henceforth treat health and well-being of the people as their fundamental human rights as a measure of government commitment to equity, justice, and the dignity of every individual.
Declaring the meeting open in Ado-Ekiti, Governor Oyebanji said his administration would continue to collaborate on initiatives that leverage digital solutions for the improvement of the health sector by harnessing technology to enhance and reposition health information systems and streamline processes to achieve the desired results.
The Governor stressed that the sub-themes of Harnessing Evidence-based Research and Development for Better Health and Digital Transformation and Health Information Systems, were apt in the effort to underscore government’s collective commitment to delivering a healthcare system that is robust, resilient, and inclusive. He added that every Nigerian has the right to equitable access to quality healthcare without financial hardship.
In Ekiti state, the Governor stated that his administration has demonstrated significant commitment to improving the health status of the populace through a holistic approach to health systems development with particular emphasis on strengthening primary health care system as a way of promoting universal health coverage.
He added that his administration has invested considerably in the health sector including infrastructural upgrade, improved welfare package for health workers and a focus on the availability of good quality drugs.
The Governor, while using the opportunity to express appreciation to the Coordinating Minister of Health and other participants for their immense contribution to the Council meeting, also stated that their collective efforts would lead to transformative outcomes for the health and well-being of Nigerians.
“Today, in Ekiti, everyone one can access a comprehensive package of primary care interventions such as Family Planning, Ante Natal Care, Delivery, Post Natal Care, Under 5 illnesses and malaria treatment for all.
“In the health sector, under my leadership, we have demonstrated significant commitment to improving the health status of our populace through a holistic approach to health systems development with particular emphasis on strengthening of our primary health care system to promote a preventive approach to health and as the entry point to care as we strive to achieve universal health coverage.
The Minister of health, Prof. Mohammad Pate, in his speech said National Council on Health has become a veritable platform over time where members and stakeholders meet and interact to consider, deliberate and chart ways forward on health issues of national importance.
The Minister noted that the theme, “Building a Resilient and Inclusive Healthcare System for a Healthy Nigeria,” along with the Sub-Themes were carefully chosen to realize the priorities of the sector; encourage stakeholders to take stock of the journey so far and ultimately achieve a system that ensures that everyone has access to needed health services including prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation without being exposed to any form of financial hardship.
He highlighted three key areas of good governance; efficient, equitable and quality health systems and Unlocking Value Chains as imperatives to delivering on health care system that would yield effectiveness and efficiency of the sector.
Prof. Pate tasked government on the need to be transparent, accountable, and responsive to the healthcare needs of its citizens by creating and enforcing policies that prioritize health and well-being of the people adding that government must also establish a regulatory framework that ensures the highest quality standards in healthcare and safeguards against corruption.
According to the Minister, The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare remains at the forefront, making sure that as a nation, we continue to maintain stability in our health sector and meet the health needs of our growing population. This is a collective leadership effort and I ask us to continue to put our best foot forward to further change our narratives and foster the progress which we desire.
He used the opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of his ministry at ensuring it accelerates the needed progress towards universal health coverage as he implored governments at the states level to replicate all the good intention of the federal government to improve health status of their citizens.
The Minister thanked Governor Biodun Oyebanji and other stakeholders in the health sector whose efforts have contributed immensely to the success of this 64th edition of the annual NCH.
“I also extend my gratitude to every member of the Council, development partners, donors, and all other stakeholders for making time to attend. I urge us all to keep the vision of ensuring and sustaining an improved healthcare system in our country. The Federal Ministry of Health pledges its unwavering effort to see that this is achieved and will continue to provide support to this course, as we all continue the long path towards the SDGs promise- a promise of a just, equitable and sustainable health system- our common heritage; a promise of peace and prosperity for a nation
“where no one is left behind.” Nigeria’s time is now. He stated.
In his keynote address, World Bank Country Director, Chubam Chundri urged the Federal Government to make deliberate efforts to reflect key pillars of health systems including primary healthcare by improving on the resources allocated to the sector.
Chundri, who recommended an urgent shift towards promoting the health and well-being of Nigerians, lamented the country’s low investment in health which had turn the country to be the least funded health system in the world.
He stressed the need for the country to raise more revenue through increase in excise taxes in the drive to adequately fund the health sector to a more acceptable standard.
Earlier in his welcome speech, Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Dr Oyebanji Filani said the state was proud to showcase its efforts in the health sector and the tremendous progress it had made over the past few years which is rapidly challenging the landscape of the health sector including its drive towards developing the primary health care by building a network of functional and effective primary health care centres in each of the 177 wards of the state.
The Commissioner added that the State Insurance Agency was complementing the effort of government by rapidly expanding access to health insurance to the entire populace across the 16 local government areas through the ‘Ulerawa’ intervention with more than 95,000 beneficiaries in the last two months.
On workforce in the sector, Dr Filani disclosed that state government recently approved the payment of a new salary structure for health workers in the state to act as a morale booster to the workforce as well as attract and retain new health workers in the face of the global challenges of shortage in health workforce and high rate of migration from the sector.
The meeting had in attendance health workers, policy makers and stakeholders comprising Ministers of Health, Commissioners for Health and officials from the 36 states of the federation including Secretary of Health, Federal Capital territory as well as representatives of development agencies including UNICEF, WHO, USAID among others.