The Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has promised to introduce innovative policies that will turn around the Nigerian health sector and improve the nation’s poor health indices if voted into power.
He also vowed to reverse the brain drain currently being experienced in the nation’s health sector.
Speaking at the symposium organized by the Healthcare Transformation Coalition (HTC) with the theme, “Repositioning the Healthcare Sector: Creating the Pathway to an Effective Health System” yesterday in Abuja, Tinubu said that if he becomes Nigeria’s next President, he will transform the health care system into one that is accessible, affordable and delivers quality service to people irrespective of their status and geographical location.
He pledged to ensure the proper utilization of funds meant for the health sector and put in place a fully functional healthcare system in Nigeria.
The former Lagos State governor stated that he has a track record of monumental achievements in the state and the legacies he left behind in the area of healthcare.
Tinubu who was represented by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, noted that though the budget for the health sector has been low, the major concern is how well the funds available have been utilized, adding that Nigeria needs to use technology to integrate all sources of financing meant for the health sector in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the system.
He said: “The budget for the health sector has been low but the major concern is the utilization of the available funds and how well have we been able to integrate all the support coming from different sources for the health sector.
“We need to use technology to integrate all sources of financing in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the system. We will not only ensure that the health sector budget is increased but also put in place a system that ensures that the funds are well utilized.”
On measures his government will take to address medical tourism, Tinubu said: “It is not only to reverse the medical tourism, but it also is not rocket science. It is just a function of identifying the facilities you have based on what is on the ground and making sure that there is a match between those facilities, your funding and the personnel.
“You are going to witness a lot of innovation, the National Health Insurance Act signed into law by the present administration is part of those things”, he said.
He added that his administration will provide the stability that the country requires in terms of security, build on the achievement of the present administration in the area of national security and ensure that the entire country is safe.
Also speaking, the convener of the HTC and former Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Dr Jide Idris, stated that as Nigeria approaches an important political transition, addressing Nigeria’s health challenges requires a social contract based on a relationship between the citizens and the state.
He said that the next president of Nigeria must show commitment to the prioritization of the attainment of Universal Health Coverage for the most vulnerable populations, who also bear the highest disease burden adding that the APC presidential candidate, in his manifesto, has also made the attainment of UHC his primary objective.
The communique issued after the event emphasized the need to reposition the healthcare delivery system of the country by putting health on the political agenda of the incoming government.
It was agreed that going forward, members of the health family need to be proactive by ensuring they participate in policy formation and design strategies for implementation, monitoring and evaluating outcomes.
From the experiences shared by the speakers, it was agreed that with focused leadership and a clear vision for the healthcare sector, a lot would be achieved in improving health indices and reducing inequalities. Health in all policies must be our guiding principle.
It was agreed that the new government must take a holistic approach to address the challenges confronting the sector through a health sector reform bill that takes cognizance of all existing health institutions and agencies with the aim of making them more efficient in line with current realities.
“The new government must ensure that collaboration along all tiers of government is strengthened. It must ensure that governance within health institutions and agencies are implemented as well as ensure sanctity of contracts”, the communique read.