The Federal Government said it is making efforts to ensure that healthcare workers who have left the country to seek greener pastures return to contribute to the development of the health sector.
The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr. Salma Anas-Ibrahim made this known on Tuesday at the joint World Health Organisation stakeholders’ feedback workshop on the evaluation of the third WHO-Nigeria country cooperation strategy (2018-2022), and development of the fourth WHO-Nigeria cooperation strategy (2023-2027).
Dr. Anas-Ibrahim said the attainment of health for all programmes through an efficient and effective Universal Health Coverage system using the continuum of care model where no one is left behind as contained in the Sustainable Development Goals, is the main aim of the present administration led by President Bola Tinubu.
According to her, President Tinubu’s health sector agenda, tagged “Healthcare: A matter of right and urgency” of the APC’s ‘Renewed Hope’ mantra has an action plan for a better Nigeria.
She said the healthcare reforms policy agenda would align with the existing national health plan to improve the health fortunes of Nigerians through investment in governance and leadership, health financing, human resources, equitable, safe, quality service delivery, primary healthcare, secondary and tertiary care facilities, preventive care services, public health emergency preparedness and response, and increased partnership with non-governmental organisations.
“This government shall address the lingering nation’s health healthcare challenges including inadequate health infrastructure, fragmentation, an overburdened workforce, poor insurance coverage, high maternal mortality, inadequate preventative care, and dependence on imported medicines, commodities, equipment, and vaccines.
“There will be a governance and leadership structure for the health sector which makes it more responsive and accountable with proper coordination and alignment mechanisms across the levels of care that has both political and institutional commitment. There will be health financing through increased budgetary allocations to high-impact health interventions and national health insurance cover for at least 40 per cent of the population in the first two years of the administration that would be augmented with the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and Vulnerable Group Fund,” she said.
Anas-Ibrahim further stated that “We are all aware that Nigeria is currently affected by the brain drain but even prior to the brain drain, our human resources are grossly inadequate, we are not yet there. So, efforts will be made towards ensuring that we address issues and enhance the capacity of our training institutions, both private and public sector to step up action and leverage all opportunities that will guarantee sustainable human resources for health at all levels of our healthcare, particularly at the primary health care level in our communities. Efforts are ongoing to address a lot of the issues including having one-for-one replacement immediately to replace those that have exited and efforts are ongoing to ensure that we have motivated, vibrant health workers that are retained and those that want to come back can come back and contribute to the health sector development.”
Also, the WHO Representative, Dr. Walter Mulombo said the CCS review is remarkable as it comes during a political transition in the country which provides a potential policy change and transformation window, given the opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary healthcare reimagining programme, the National Health Insurance Authority Act, and the Presidential Health Reform Programme.
Mulombo said, “As the development of a new CCS usually follows a robust consultative process, we have engaged with your good selves over the past few months, trying to understand what we have done well, the areas we have not done well, and pointers to the priorities in the coming five years.
“One key recurring challenge thrown at WHO during this ongoing review is the need for WHO to be more innovative and agile to adopt a stronger coordination role as the leading authority in health in support of the country and other partners.”
The PUNCH reports that the number of Nigerian-trained doctors practising in the United Kingdom has climbed to 11,478, while not less than 10,639 Nigerian-trained nurses and midwives are practicing in the UK.