Cancer Minister says FG to make 7 tertiary institutions centres for care

He added that the support from WHO would help to utilise Nigeria's manpower in any WHO-inspired assignment in Africa.

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday, said the Federal Government was investing in seven of its tertiary institutions to become centres of excellence for cancer care.

Adewole said this when he received the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti in Abuja.

The minister called for the support of WHO toward mobilising resources for the revitalisation of primary healthcare toward the attainment of Universal Healthcare Coverage in Nigeria.

He said that the support from WHO would entail monitoring and evaluation, including routine surveillance, technical support for the National Public Health Observatory and mobilising resources for Regional Centre for Disease Control.

He added that the support from WHO would help to utilise Nigeria's manpower in any WHO-inspired assignment in Africa.

He noted that ``the country’s population is projected to double in 20 years and increase by 146 per cent by 2050, making it the fourth most populous country in the world.

``This has been largely driven by very high fertility rates that have persisted over the last 30 years.

``However, persistently high infant mortality rates have contributed to the low life expectancy at birth, resulting in a pyramidal demographic profile, with higher dependency ratios than comparable in Asian countries, whose profiles have evolved,

``Nigeria’s health system is beset with several challenges and suboptimal health outcomes and characterised by burden of disease driven by infectious and parasitic diseases.

``The health sector outcomes show mixed performance, as Nigeria has made limited progress in service delivery in the last decades.''

Adewole, who said health was one of the key promises of the current administration, added that this would ensure that
Nigerians, especially the poorest, access basic and quality healthcare.

``We want to achieve Universal Health Coverage by ensuring one functional PHC per ward in Nigeria.

``To achieve UHC, Nigeria will scale up the inputs required for efficient service delivery, as 10,000 PHC facilities will be revitalised
over the next two years.

``Significant resources are required to achieve this. To achieve this, we need to start thinking differently," he said.

The minister then said that Nigeria was currently reviewing its strategic plans for health and hope to soon launch a new National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) to cover 2016-2020.

The focus, he added, would now be on results and outcome with increased accountability structures and Universal Health Coverage.

Earlier, Moeti had pledged support for Nigeria’s efforts to revolutionalise Primary Health Care.

She also expressed optimism that Nigeria would become polio-free by July 24, 2017.

She said ``it has been encouraging for me to learn about your strong focus on Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage.

``This is our number one primary priority in WHO; I wish to assure you of our firm support from WHO to make sure that you realise this ambitious agenda.

``I assure you of our firm support because I am extremely excited that we are on the same page.''

Moeti congratulated Nigeria on leaving the list of polio endemic countries and expressed optimism that the structures built would be put to use in creating viable disease surveillance system for the nation.

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