The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole on Thursday reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to revamp the health sector through the revitalisation of Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs).
Adewole who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said that the revitalisation of the PHCs would help in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the country.
To sustain the revitalisation agenda, Adewole disclosed that the sector would leverage on the National Health Act, which he said guaranteed a minimum package of services in primary healthcare facilities under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
The Minister said it was regrettable that data suggests that Nigeria spends over $1 billion annually on medical tourism, a situation he said was worrisome.
Adewole who spoke at a three-day 60th National Council on Health (NCH) meeting said part of the measures taken by the government to revamp the sector was to re-organise the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to ensure quality healthcare delivery to Nigerians.
The theme of the meeting was “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Health Sector: Matters Arising”.
The Minister said the Federal government was collaborating with all the 36 States through their Primary Health Care Boards in the selection, renovation and equipping of selected health facilities as part of the on-going PHC Revitalization agenda.
He listed four major priorities of the government to include PHCs Revitalization, Closing out Polio in Nigeria, Strengthening Routine Immunization and supply chain as well as “Strengthening governance and accountability.”
The Minister stressed that the sector had made progress in the development of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2017-2021).
He added that through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Ministry now has Rapid Response Teams (RRT) of epidemiologists and clinicians that are on standby for deployment to states in case of any disease outbreaks.
He said “In addition, medicines, personal protective equipment, consumables, laboratory reagents and other medical supplies have been provided to states across the country to ensure preparedness and support response activities during outbreaks. By this, we have become more proactive in preparing for outbreaks. We have also established an Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) to implement daily intelligence gathering and risk analysis of public health events for identification of potential threats.”
He said Nigeria has become one of the 52 countries globally and 15th in Africa to carry out a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of our International Health Regulations (IHR) capacities.
Speaking, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said government must invest more in public health, saying states alone could not do it.
The Governor however sought for more support from the development partners, foreign bodies and the private sector in providing quality health care delivery.
Amosun urged the Council to come up with practical recommendations and resolutions that would address the health challenges facing the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in his address said the revitalisation of the PHC was necessary in order for millions of Nigerians to have access to good health care.
He assured that the Federal government would do everything within its capacity to ensure that issue of disease outbreaks are address promptly.
Ehanire disclosed that the National Health Council plan and recommendations would be followed by the government.