NHCF Partners with FG, others to improve Nigeria’s healthcare services
Gloria Essien, Abuja
The Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum (NHCF) says it is positioned for more collaborations with the federal government and partners to strategically reposition the country’s health sector and explore potentials for improving health care finding and health care service delivery across Nigeria.
The declaration was made at the forum’s 2-day quarterly meeting held in Abuja.
The chairman of the forum and Cross River state Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, said that the purpose of the quarterly meeting was to rally all the health commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation to bring up policies, decisions and networks through a joint communique that will state the forum’s position on how Nigeria can achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), how they can improve preventive care at State levels as well as solicit robust support to fight COVID-19 and other issues.
“I’m sure we all know that the Nigerian health sector needs a revolution. Something drastically has to happen. And if we don’t cash in on the window of opportunity of this pandemic, we will all be in a terrible situation thereafter. And so, that’s why all the Commissioners for Health in Nigeria have gathered here today to bring up policies, decisions, network and come up with a communique that will state our position on how Nigeria can achieve Universal Health Coverage, how we can improve preventive care at state level, how we can get more support to the states, especially as it concerns COVID-19 pandemic and other issues”. Dr Edu said.
She said that the meeting will also look into the different roles which the private sector can play to improve health care in Nigeria.
She also called for more intervention and support from development partners as well as improved collaboration among stakeholders within the health sector.
“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 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.
The Deputy Chief of Mission US Embassy, Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon, said that the Health sector engagement is something the US government is passionate about.
She said that in the past two years, with close collaboration with state commissioners the US government through PEPFA has placed over five thousand HIV patients on treatment.
She also said that the commitment of state commissioners led to achieving HIV epidemic control.
“The US has always been a partner to Nigeria both at the federal and state levels”. She said.
Also speaking at the meeting the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Sambo Muhamed, said that to achieve Universal Health Coverage, a lot of collaboration and partnership is very critical.
He noted that the commissioners occupy the middle sphere of health care and need to put in more efforts to achieve a sustainable health care system across the states.
“They act as the bridge in the scheme of affairs in the health sector. NHIS is building a system whereby no Nigerian will be left behind. We will continue to work closely with the commissioners to achieve reforms”. Prof Sambo said.
The meeting has “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”.