Saturday, December 2, 2023

FG Launches Healthcare Overhaul, Harps On Digital Transformation, Others

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Ali Pate.
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate.

The Federal Government said it has begun a spirited transformation of the Nigerian healthcare system, to emphasise a renewed workforce, digital transformation and resilience.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 64th National Council on Health (NCH) in Ado-Ekiti, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate unveiled an ambitious agenda, signalling a pivotal shift toward fortifying Nigeria’s healthcare landscape. The roadmap encompasses resilience-building, workforce empowerment and a digital transformation.

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, who represented the minister, emphasised the transformative vision set forth by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, aiming to comprehensively revamp Nigeria’s healthcare system and provide meaningful healthcare for every citizen.

The theme for this year’s NCH, ‘Building the Resilience and Inclusive Health Care System for a Healthy Nigeria,’ underscores the strategic importance of creating a robust healthcare system that is responsive to the diverse health needs of the population.

The minister outlined key transformation goals, including the enhancement of healthcare systems, reduction of maternal and infant mortality, addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), combating infectious diseases, and eliminating malnutrition. Recognizing the challenges exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alausa stressed the need for a skilled and motivated healthcare workforce. Initiatives include increasing student intake and state government support for training institutions.

Highlighting the importance of evidence-based research, the minister called for the development of a robust research ecosystem to generate jobs and attract investment into the healthcare sector. In addressing the quest for universal healthcare coverage, there was a focus on equitable and comprehensive health financing.

Efforts are underway to strengthen the operationalisation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund. Embracing digitalisation in healthcare, the minister discussed plans for a robust electronic medical record (EMR) system and called for support in navigating digital challenges.

The minister emphasised the importance of collaboration and expressed gratitude for the collective efforts that contributed to the success of the National Council on Health. The Speaker of the Ekiti State Assembly, Hon. Stephen Adeoye stressed the significance of the NCH64 theme amid diverse health challenges in the country. He highlighted the importance of unity for policy formation towards a healthier nation.

The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ekiti State, Dr. Oyebanji Filani showcased the state’s achievements and commitment to healthcare development. He discussed progress in primary healthcare, health insurance expansion and successful interventions. Notably, the recent approval of a new salary structure for health workers was announced to address workforce challenges and attract skilled professionals.

Speaking on behalf of civil society organisations (CSOs), Chief Moji Makanjuola emphasised the collaboration between CSOs and the government. She highlighted a collective dedication to improving healthcare delivery services with an emphasis on equity and reaching underserved populations.

The comprehensive healthcare overhaul outlined by the coordinating minister signals a new era for Nigeria’s health sector, promising resilience, a strengthened workforce and the embrace of digital advancements for better healthcare outcomes. The collaboration and commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders are pivotal in achieving these transformative goals.

Racheal Abujah
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