As the 63rd Regular National Council on Health (NCH) begins in Abuja, health experts are convinced that the government still have ample time to build a resilient and sustainable system for improved health outcomes in the country.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony on 05 December 2022, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Delta State, Dr Mininim Oseji, says though the current administration has less than six months to go, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is still attainable.
Dr Oseji says that a resilient health system can be achieved through three factors – incentivizing the health workforce, a public-private partnership to improve funding for the health sector, and an improved health data management system to enhance informed decision-making.
“If the health workers are well-incentivized, they will always find ways to deliver quality health services, even in the hardest conditions.
The government need to devise a mechanism to monitor the activities of the health workers to reward those doing well, or reprimand does defaulting. We also need to ensure we implement decision made at the summit”, she says.
On her part, the Director of Health Planning and Statistics of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Ngozi Azodo, says the meeting would be used as a mirror look into previous decisions and address emerging issues and establish improvement strategies for the health sector.
“This is a scorecard meeting because it is the last NCH in this administration, so it allows us to review what has been done and address the gaps to build a resilient health system that can cope with any emergencies like what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
In her goodwill message, the World Health Organization (WHO) Officer in Charge, Dr Mie Okamura commends the Nigerian government for the huge effort made at the sub-national level each day to ensure the achievement of results towards UHC and health security despite obvious challenges.
Dr Okamura says WHO has enjoyed the excellent cooperation of the government at the Federal, 36 States and FCT towards the mandate of promoting health, keeping the World safe and serving the vulnerable in Nigeria,
She adds that it is heart-warming to note that the theme and sub-themes of the NCH reflect the WHO priorities in the extended GPW13 and the Transformation Agenda of the African Region.
“We have also received overwhelming support and resources from donors, other developing partners, Civil Society Organizations, academia, the private sector, and communities for which we are most grateful.
Accordingly, the WHO as a member state organization will depend on the strategic guidance of the health sector plan, which will be enriched by the outcome of this National Council on Health, to translate these into the Nigeria Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS), even as we advance effort towards 2024-2025 program budget,” she said.
The NCH is the highest national policy-making and advisory body on health matters in the country. It has members, the Minister of Health, Minister of State for Health, State Commissioners for health as well as top management staff of both Federal and State ministries of health and their parastatals and agencies.
The 63rd meeting is the last council of health for the current administration.
The theme of the summit is: “Building a Resilient and Sustainable Health System for Improved Health Outcomes and Universal Health Coverage”.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Nigeria.