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FG to prioritize health as human right

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By Abraham Adekunle

Tinubu’s SA on health said Nigeria committed to health as a matter of urgency.

Two months into the Tinubu administration, the Federal Government of Nigeria has reiterated its stance on committing to the prioritization of the health sector in the country as a fundamental human right and as a matter of national security with great investment for nation growth, development and sustainable prosperity. Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Health, Dr. Salma Anas-Ibrahim, revealed this during the joint WHO-Stakeholders Workshop on the Evaluation of the third WHO-Nigeria Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) (2018-2022) and Development of the fourth WHO-Nigeria Country Cooperation Strategy held in Abuja, Nigeria.

In other words, the joint stakeholders meeting was to evaluate the third CCS that the World Health Organization (WHO) has with Nigeria as well as to develop a new one. Furthermore, Dr. Anas-Ibrahim noted that President Bola Tinubu’s Health Sector Agenda, which is tagged “Healthcare: A Matter of Right and Urgency,” has an action plan for a better Nigeria based on ten foundation pillars. It’s goal is, “Make basic healthcare, education and housing accessible for all” as a key deliverable for Nigerians.

Health sector agenda to position the system for responsiveness.

“The healthcare reforms policy agenda would align with the existing national health plan to improve the health fortunes of the people of Nigeria, through investment in the nine (9) following domains,” the action plan reads in part. Then, it went on to highlight nine key areas, which are: governance and leadership structure; health financing; human resource; equitable, safe, quality delivery service; primary healthcare repositioning and strengthening; secondary and tertiary care facilities restructuring and repurposing; preventive care service provisions; Public health emergency preparedness and response mechanisms; and increased partnership with NGOs.

Dr. Anas-Ibrahim said that the whole perspective of the health sector agenda for this government is to position the system to be more responsive and accountable to the needs of the people that will positively contribute to the overall strategic growth and development of citizens as the greatest asset of the country. WHO country representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, explained that member states have just concluded the 76 worlds health assembly, which sets the pace for accelerating health to achieve the thirteenth general programme of work (GPW13) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target by 2030.

Development of a new CCS is a robust consulting process.

He said that Nigeria, like the rest of the world, has experienced a setback in main health indices including maternal, neonatal and child health, requiring innovative ways of working to close the gap. Dr. Kazadi noted that the WHO in Nigeria has developed and successfully implemented three generations of the CCS. The current CCS were originally developed in 2014, reviewed in 2018 and extended to 2022 to respond to the SDG, in line with the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the National Health Policy 2016, the National Strategic Health Development Plan II, the UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework 2018-2022, the WHO Transformation Agenda and the WHO 13″ Program of Work (GPW13).

Dr. Kazadi said that its development usually follows a robust consulting process. “We are engaged with your good sell over the past few months, trying to understand what we have done right, the areas we have not done well and the pointers to the priorities in the coming five years”. He revealed that a recurring challenge during the ongoing review is the need for the organization to be more innovative and energize to a stronger coordination role as a leading authority in health in support of the country and other stakeholders. He stated that the joint workshop will improve outcomes and provide guidance with more robust CCS and galvanize all of the government’s efforts to achieve SDG in Nigeria.

New review remarkable due to the recent political transition.

WHO country representative in Nigeria said that the review is remarkable as it comes during the political transition in the country. It provides the potential for an inclusive policy dialogue and transformation window given the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) is a medium-term strategic document that records WHO vision for technical cooperation with a given member state in support of the country’s national health policy, strategy, or plan. It was Introduced in the year 2000 to co-create a strategic agenda which aligns WHO collaboration with other United Nations bodies and development partners at the country level based on identified needs.

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World Health Organization: Website

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