The special adviser to the president on health, Dr. Salma Anas has revealed that the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda will focus on addressing governance in Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
This statement was made during the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) summit held in Abuja. The CTAP is a health accountability project initiated by BudgIT and CODE, aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in the healthcare sector.
The summit, themed ‘The New Health Agenda for Nigeria,’ sought to enhance accountability and increase investment in the health sector. It aimed to encourage greater engagement in discussions related to health issues, particularly among young people.
Anas emphasised the importance of the new governance regime in the health sector and noted that it would be a priority area for CTAP. She highlighted that the ‘Renewed Hope’ health agenda is focusing on interventions in eight strategic areas to achieve the President’s healthcare objectives. Addressing governance, with an emphasis on accountability and transparency, holds the highest priority within this agenda.
Anas noted that good governance, characterised by transparency and accountability, is the key to unlocking progress in all other aspects of the healthcare agenda. This approach aligns with the coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare’s four-point agenda framework to deliver the presidential mandate on health.
The ‘Renewed Hope’ health agenda is built on the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as its primary objective, treating health as an investment. The agenda envisions the creation of new jobs through healthcare and how a healthy population can contribute to greater economic and social development in Nigeria.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kaltuma Ahmed shared updates on healthcare plans in the state. She revealed ongoing efforts to renovate and equip 255 primary healthcare centres and strengthen the health insurance scheme. “The Kaduna State government,” she said “is prioritising five pivotal areas to improve the healthcare system in the state, including dedicating 15 percent of its budget to the health sector.”
CEO of CODE, Mr. Hamzat Lawal emphasised the need for collaboration and inclusivity in healthcare sector reform. He stressed the importance of preparedness to tackle emergencies, advocating for funds for operational research, healthcare contingency reserves and enhanced incident management capabilities.
Lawal urged inclusive decision-making guided by equity and he called for measures to fight corruption, expand health coverage, monitor private healthcare providers and promote inclusivity. He also emphasised the importance of bringing healthcare professionals back from abroad to strengthen the domestic workforce.
The River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Adaeze Oreh addressed the brain-drain issue in the healthcare sector. She highlighted the need for comprehensive solutions that address the root causes of this problem. Incentives for healthcare professionals to stay and contribute to Nigeria’s healthcare system should be provided through collaboration between the government, healthcare institutions, professional associations and other stakeholders.
Co-founder and director of BudgIT, Mr. Oluseun Onigbinde discussed the impact of CTAP across nine African countries and stressed the importance of decentralising the conversation to the state and geopolitical zones of Nigeria.