The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the Federal Government made a commitment of N12 billion to de-congest national hospitals and other tertiary teaching hospitals in the country.
Adeowole said this on Monday in Abuja at the sideline of the Public Presentation of the 2017 Budget Proposals tagged “Budget of Recovery and Growth”.
He said in the 2017 Budget, about N51 billion was proposed for health infrastructure development, part of which would be dedicated to implementing the new National Health Policy.
He said that the policy would focus on strengthening primary healthcare centres and encouraging states to strengthen secondary healthcare centres while the Federal Government focused on the tertiary teaching hospitals in the country.
“In the last 12 months, we have seen the rehabilitation of close to 3,000 of primary healthcare centres. This was done from both internal funding and funding from development partners.
“In 2017, we intend to continue to support primary care. In addition to this, we intend to take more people away from tertiary hospitals.
” Many Nigerians go to tertiary hospitals for any kind of ailment, be it headache, fever, diarrhea they go to national hospitals. That is not where they ought to go.
“They should go to the primary healthcare facility close to them. So we will de-congest the tertiary hospitals so that they can attend to serious cases such as cancer, heart disease among others,” he said.
Adewole said that the ministry planned to leverage and partner with the private sector to get more funding for the sector, especially in the development of tertiary teaching hospitals.
“The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority will help us pull more money from the private sector so that we can grow this N12 billion.
“The N12 billion is not up to what we need; but with the private sector, we can achieve our goals for the year,” he said.
“We have the human resources; we just need to upgrade the facility and give doctors space to achieve specialisation,” he said.
With this done, he says Nigeria will stop losing money to medical tourism which is one of the focus of the Federal Government in 2017.