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Innovative approaches, collaboration critical to universal health coverage - Sanwo-Olu

The governor highlighted the complexities involved in delivering UHC, particularly considering the strain on the economy and depreciation of the Naira.

Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu. [Twitter:@jidesanwoolu]

He also called for the convergence of medicine and politics for effective coverage and improved healthcare delivery. Sanwo-Olu, represented by Prof. Akin Abayomi, state Commissioner for Health, said this during the Nigerian Medical Association Elders’ Forum on Sunday in Lagos.

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The event has the theme, “Physicians Involvement in Politics: Navigating the Intersection of Medicine and Politics”. He highlighted the complexities involved in delivering UHC, particularly considering the strain on the economy, dwindling health budget, and depreciation of the Naira.

“We have to come up with innovative thinking. It is no longer business as usual, to meet the UHC and performance key indicators target in the state’s development plan,” he said.

To overcome these challenges, the governor stressed the importance of revolutionary thinking and engaging in dialogues with past leaders to develop actionable plans that would restore the glory of the nation’s health sector.

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He said that it would also assist chart plans that would attract Nigerian medical professionals back to the country and transform Lagos into Africa’s medical tourism destination.

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, identified the need for collaboration with key stakeholders as a crucial element in achieving this goal. Sanwo-Olu noted that the last election had shown the necessity of a social safety net, while ensuring that citizens reap the benefits of good governance.

A former Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Dr Leke Pitan, encouraged medical professionals not to distance themselves from politics. Pitan, represented by Dr Funmilayo Olatunji, a former Permanent Secretary in Lagos, noted the vital role that politicians play in allocating resources that directly impact the well-being of the people.

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Pitan said that medicine and politics converge and should be utilised to ensure true governance and service delivery to the people. Also, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman of the NMA Lagos Zone, noted the intersection of medicine and politics, emphasising that decisions made in the political arena have far-reaching effects on the lives of citizens beyond the confines of hospitals.

“We find ourselves at the junction where the expertise of a physician must extend beyond the operating rooms to the corridor of power,” he stated.

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He further said that physicians could become architects of change by actively engaging in political discourse that prioritise the health and well-being of citizens.

Olowojebutu explained that collaboration between physicians, the elders and politicians would assist to navigate the intersection with wisdom and build a healthy community and resilient health systems.

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