The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr Salma Anas, says the Renewed Hope Agenda will address governance in the healthcare sector in the country.
Anas said this on Thursday in Abuja, at the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Transparency and Accountability Project, (CTAP) summit, a health accountability project initiated by BudgIT and CODE to promote transparency and accountability in the healthcare sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit, with the theme: New health agenda for Nigeria, aims to improve health sector accountability and investment in health.
She encouraged Nigerians to stand up as stakeholders in the business of the healthcare sector in Nigeria.
It is aimed at fostering more engagement in conversations around health-related issues among young people.
She said that the plans for a new governance regime in the health sector, as she believed, was likely to be a priority area of consideration among others.
She said that as a strategic approach, the Renewed Hope Health Agenda was focusing on interventions in eight strategic areas to ensure the attainment of the president’s objectives for the health sector.
“Our consultations in the process of developing the agenda made it clear that good governance that embodies accountability and transparency was the key to unlocking all the other components of the agenda.
“Thus, addressing governance is accorded the highest priority in the Renewed Hope Agenda.
“This has also been echoed by the coordinating minister of health and social welfare in his four-point agenda, which is the framework within which he envisions delivering the Presidential Mandate on Health,” she said.
She said that the agenda was premised on the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as its primary objective and considering health as an investment.
She said that the agenda envisioned how through health, new jobs could be created, and how a vibrant healthy population could bring greater economic and social development to the Nigerian people.
Dr Kaltuma Ahmed, Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, said on the situation of healthcare in the state, there were ongoing plans to renovate and equip 255 Primary Health Care centres and strengthen the health insurance scheme.
Ahmed said that the Kaduna State Government pledged to focus on five healthcare areas to provide an adequate health system.
She said that the administration focused on five pivotal areas through diligent work and collaboration for the well-being of citizens.
She said that the state was sustaining 15 per cent of its budget for the health sector and it remained one of the priorities of the state.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CODE, said it was time to table the people’s needs, listen to both sides and find ways to collaborate for health sector reform in the country.
Hamzat said that emergencies could, however, strike at times.
“Being ready is not an option; it’s a necessity. There is a need therefore to allocate funds for operational research, establish healthcare contingency reserves, and strengthen our incident management capabilities.
“Preparedness is our shield against disasters,” he said.
According to him, “Let’s make decisions together, informed by knowledge and involving all stakeholders.”
He said that equity should be the guiding principle, from resource distribution to accountability.
“We must fight corruption, expand health coverage, monitor private healthcare providers, and promote inclusivity.
“Bringing back healthcare professionals from abroad is a step towards building a stronger domestic workforce.
“Together, these measures pave the path to a healthcare system that works for everyone effective, accountable, and inclusive,” he said.
Dr Adaeze Oreh, Commissioner for Health, Rivers State, said addressing the brain drain in the country required a comprehensive approach that addressed the underlying causes.
Oreh said there was a need for the state government to provide incentives for healthcare professionals to stay and contribute to the country’s healthcare system.
She said that implementing these strategies would require collaboration between the government, healthcare institutions, professional associations, and other stakeholders.
“It is essential to address the brain drain in the country’s health sector, to ensure the availability of skilled healthcare professionals and improve the overall healthcare system in the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Oluseun Onigbinde, Co-founder and Director of BudgIT, highlighted the impact of CTAP across nine African countries.
Onigbinde stated it was time to decentralise the conversation to the state and geo-political zones of the country.