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Nigerians can achieve brighter healthcare future, if we work together - Prof Pate

He expressed confidence in the power of unity and shared efforts to create a better healthcare system for Nigeria.

Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare [Punch]

Pate said this on Monday in Abuja at the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) forum in Nigeria on “the new health sector development blueprint.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum was an opportunity for civil societies to engage with and understand the health policy priorities, and collaboratively develop a position paper and action plan to promote shared ownership of the emerging health policy agenda in the country.

The minister said collaboration and teamwork were essential in improving healthcare in the country. He expressed confidence in the power of unity and shared efforts to create a better healthcare system for Nigeria.

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He said that the aim of the Strategic Blueprint (2023 – 2026) for reimagined healthcare service delivery was to save lives, reduce physical and financial pains, and produce health for all Nigerians equitably and irrespective of socio-economic status.

“The aspirations were determined through far-reaching surveys and exchanges with 2,500 Nigerians across the country, revealing what the people expect from the Government in terms of healthcare service and social welfare delivery.

“The pillars of our Blueprint were built on the National Health Act (NHA) 2014 and designed to enhance the delivery of universal health coverage so that everyone should receive the healthcare they need without facing any financial hardships.

“It is our belief that effective governance is pivotal to an effective, equitable, efficient and well-integrated health system.

“Also, we believe that people, as part of the civil society, should be at the core of health system, both for quality checks, transparency, and accountability, and importantly in shaping the services that contribute to their well-being,” he said.

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He said that collaboration with various stakeholders, including the health sector CSOs, was integral to the process and their continued support was critical to the successful delivery of set goals. He disclosed that the NHA 2014 provided for a national consultative forum for health and the hope that would be constituted in due course.

“It will provide a viable platform for civil society and citizens to be part of the solutions, we seek to provide to our various healthcare service delivery challenges.

“As part of our goals, we are working to review the national basic healthcare package and other policies, including health insurance, to make them socio-economically realistic for today’s Nigeria.

“This is in addition to other investments to unlock the health sector value chain as well as the initiatives to promote health security for Nigeria,” he stated.

According to him, We will consider the White Paper you’re going to produce from our dialogue and work together to deliver a well-functioning healthcare system for all Nigerians.

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Earlier, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, Chair, UHC 2023 Forum, said that the forum drew its inspiration from success stories and lessons learned from the countries that have made significant progress in improving the health of their people.

Makanjuola said that the commencement of the UHC journey is usually preceded by a political decision to set a country on the trajectory of UHC, often catalysed by growing local clamour for health reforms that expand access to care.

“We should continue to mobilise, harness and align resources towards setting Nigeria on the UHC trajectory. We also need to raise the accountability bar for policy implementation and resource utilisation,” she said, adding that primary healthcare centres were crucial for the vulnerable in the society because they provide essential medical services, preventive care, and support.

“These facilities offer a lifeline for individuals facing health challenges, ensuring access to treatment, medications, and healthcare professionals who can address their specific needs.

“Without such centres, vulnerable populations may struggle to receive timely and appropriate healthcare, exacerbating health disparities and diminishing overall well-being,” she added.

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The Chairperson of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), Mrs Chika Offor, provided a deep dive into the Strategic Blueprint in line with a request.

Offor expressed the willingness to work with the Ministry in the effective governance of the health sector, especially on accountability and transparency for maximised quality health outcomes.

She said that the UHC Forum has continued to work with the Government in extending health services, including information and products, to the vulnerable and underserved areas and remote communities.

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