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Govt to boost private healthcare contribution

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By Usman Oladimeji

Policies and strategies for private healthcare providers are underway.

In order to foster growth in Nigeria’s healthcare sector, the government is actively implementing policies and strategies that aim to empower private healthcare providers. Tunji Alausa, the minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, recently outlined a comprehensive list of essential initiatives that prioritize the promotion of private sector investments in hospitals, infrastructure, and the development of a robust supply chain network. These measures are intended to enable private healthcare services to play a significant role, accounting for over 15 percent of the country’s overall healthcare sector.

He opined that implementing this approach would result in enhanced healthcare accessibility for Nigerians, ensuring the provision of top-notch medical services. During the second annual conference of the Health Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Alausa declared that settling the outstanding debts of public hospitals to pharmaceutical suppliers is a crucial task that needs immediate attention. Furthermore, the presidential committee responsible for enhancing the healthcare value chain is actively pursuing opportunities to invest in the local production of vital medical resources such as drugs, vaccines, devices, as well as health logistics and technology.

Private markets hold the power to bridge the existing gaps.

Alausa stressed the significance of resource optimization, highlighting that effectively combining and maximizing resources to fulfill the necessities of our society is imperative for achieving goals. The growing importance of involving the private sector in bolstering public healthcare services is undeniable. He believed that private markets, when working together, hold the power to bridge the existing gaps and limitations encountered by government-operated healthcare systems. Taiwo Oyedele, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, addressed worries about burdensome tax systems imposed on crucial medical equipment, accessories, and resources needed for drug fabrication, and thus offering reassurances.

He attested to the continuous initiatives made to bring about modifications through the creation of novel codes and tariff lines that mirror the progress made in the field of medical science. In addition, he mentioned that there are ongoing plans to create dedicated pathways for faster processing of pharmaceutical imports and exports. Oyedele further stated that a potential assessment of increased taxes on tobacco, sugary drinks, alcohol, and spirits is being considered as a means to finance healthcare. However, this evaluation seeks to prevent these taxes from worsening unemployment while adequately tackling health care issues.

PPP can help attain comprehensive health coverage for all.

Furthermore, he expressed worry about how the ministry of health is incapable of efficiently utilizing its current budget, which, although inadequate, is still in effect. He contended that merely providing extra funds without tackling the utilization problems won’t provide any instant remedies. Oyedele cautioned that while the introduction of new taxes could potentially generate revenue, its impact on healthcare funding will remain insignificant unless it is specifically allocated through legislation. In order to overcome obstacles hindering the entry of new healthcare businesses, Pamela Ajayi, President of Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), urged the government to adopt a public-private partnership (PPP) model for seamless integration and bridging of gaps.

She highlighted the pressing need to address obstacles involving the importation of equipment, customs barriers, restrictive regulations, and numerous taxation policies as crucial factors to enhance the healthcare system’s overall quality, benefiting all individuals. The government’s evident preparedness to foster extensive collaborations between the public and private sectors reflects the demand voiced by key players in the healthcare domain, who stressed its importance in attaining comprehensive health coverage for all. To establish a robust healthcare system in Nigeria, both the public and private sectors must actively participate in addressing the various health concerns.

Related Article: PPP to enhance Healthcare system in Nigeria

By engaging the private sector alongside the government, it will alleviate the burden on the government and ensure that all members of society have access to affordable and reliable healthcare. Utilizing the investment potential of the private sector can foster growth and advancements in innovation, research, and production within the healthcare industry. Developing a robust healthcare system necessitates a unified effort, fostering trust and confidence amongst stakeholders. It demands collaborative partnerships and exploiting the untapped potential of the private sector.

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