Stakeholders in the health sector have stressed the imperative of innovative strategies and heightened accountability as pivotal catalysts for achieving superior outcomes.
They made their collective emphasis on doing things differently, with a shared commitment to transformative approaches in pursuit of better results at the 64th Session of the National Council on Health (NCH) in Ado-Ekiti.
The panel discussion, followed by the presentation of the strategic blueprint and sector-wide approach for health by the Minister of Health and Social Development, Prof. Muhammad Pate marked a crucial moment in the quest for a resilient and inclusive healthcare system in Nigeria.
The NCH, an apex policymaking body in the Nigerian health sector, annually brings together leaders such as permanent secretaries, honourable commissioners of health, heads of parastatals and directors to discuss health-related issues. This year’s theme, “Building a Resilient and Inclusive Healthcare System for a Healthy Nigeria”, aligns with the Renewed Hope Agenda and underscores the significance of a robust healthcare system.
The managing partner of DGI Consult, Dr. Gafar Alawode spoke passionately about the proactive initiative, aiming to drive positive change and elevate Nigeria’s healthcare standards. Alawode highlighted the need for a transformative shift in the country’s health sector and the prioritisation of accountability to overcome historical fragmentation.
“This strategic move addresses historical challenges stemming from the fragmented health sector and underscores the critical role of accountability in achieving meaningful outcomes. The civil society organisations (CSOs) coalition’s meticulous approach includes enhancing transparency, scrutinising expenditure details, and establishing governance mechanisms for effective data collection and utilisation,” he explained.
Alawode emphasised that focusing on addressing fragmentation in the health sector and enhancing accountability is crucial for the country’s overall health improvement.
The WHO representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo commended the country’s impact on global health, particularly in addressing challenges like malaria. He stressed the need for a stronger strategy, acceleration towards universal health coverage, and urgency in addressing demographic concerns.
The head of health and demography at the British High Commission, Abuja, Dr. Dave McConalogue highlighted the importance of coordinating efforts among development partners to align funding with desired outcomes, enhancing overall effectiveness. McConalogue considered the moment pivotal to bringing positive change and improving coordination for better results.
“Collaborative efforts and a shared commitment to the vision will be instrumental in navigating the complexities,” he stated.
The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ekiti State, Dr. Oyebanji Filani underscored the critical importance of addressing challenges in Nigeria’s health sector. He highlighted the need for national consensus and governance, emphasising accountability and creating a compact between the Federal Government, states and development partners to set expectations and work collaboratively.
During the session, Pate unveiled the ministry’s strategic blueprint and adoption of a sector-wide programme – the Nigerian Health Sector Renewal and Investment Programme (NHSRIP). Pate emphasised that the sector-wide approach showcases a roadmap for improved resource allocation at facility levels, strengthening social accountability, elevating citizens’ voices and enhancing the transparency of interactions.
Pate highlighted the ministry’s commitment to an adaptive approach, refining implementation issues collaboratively and recognising the role of states in the revitalisation of primary healthcare. He emphasised that convergence and coordination between the Federal Government, states and other stakeholders reflect a holistic approach to improving healthcare, addressing issues related to women, adolescents and vulnerable groups to underscore the inclusivity of the health strategy.