The Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum has scaled up its collaborative efforts in a bid to strategically reposition the country’s health sector and explore potentials for improving health care service delivery across Nigeria.
The forum at its 2-day quarterly meeting held in Abuja tagged: “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”, acknowledged that Nigeria’s health sector requires a revolution to strategically rebuild the sector especially in the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the chairman of the forum, Dr. Betta Edu, noted that the purpose of the quarterly meeting was to rally all the health commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation to bring up policies, decisions, and networks through a joint communique that will state the forum’s position on how Nigeria can achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), how they can improve preventive care at State levels as well as solicit robust support to fight COVID-19 and other issues.
“We are here to also look into the different roles which the private sector can play to improve health care in Nigeria. Above all, we’ll be looking at strengthening the primary health care system which is the foundation of the health system in Nigeria,” she said.
Dr. Edu who is also the health Commissioner for Cross River State called for more intervention and support from development partners as well as improved collaboration among stakeholders within the health sector.
“We are pleading with our partners for more support and intervention in an integrated manner. The vertical programming and silos will lead to duplication and might not help in building a resilient health system. We are pleading that our partners work with the Ministry of health at the various State levels to provide integrated health care so that we don’t have overlaps and wastage.”
Also speaking at the meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, highlighted the importance of collaboration at all levels to the success of the national response to COVID-19.
“I am happy that this meeting will be discussing broader health issues such as Basic Health Care provision, strengthening primary health care, HIV/AIDS control, Universal Health Coverage, health insurance, as well as various high impact interventions being implemented either directly or with our development partners.
“The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, the multi-sectoral body driving the national response has clearly underpinned the importance of collaboration at all levels to the success of our national response. This is a sign posted by dialogue, enforcement, investment, risk communication, and effective surveillance by all stakeholders. It is in this regard that I urge you as Commissioners to provide effective leadership at the state level,” the SGF stated.
By Fred Eze,