By AbuSatar Hamed
ABUJA: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that increasing funding towards improving the healthcare sector and ensuring the well-being of Nigerians remain a priority for the Buhari administration, even as it continues to ramp up efforts to effectively tackle non-communicable diseases and Tuberculosis and safeguard the lives of Nigerians.
According to a press release e-signed and made available to StarTrend Int’l magazine & www.startrendinternational.com by, Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Osinbajo stated this when he received at the Presidential Villa on Friday a delegation of the Joint United Nations Programming Mission on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Tuberculosis, who are on a visit to Nigeria.
The UN delegation was led by the Acting Representative (in Nigeria) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Rex Mpazanje.
Speaking during the meeting, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President noted that in its resolve to improve healthcare delivery and increase funding for the sector, the Federal Government has committed one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for basic health care provision fund, in line with the National Health Act.
“The one per cent is significant for us. One of the very important things for us is actually how to look at funding outside of government, and this really is one of the critical issues that we’ve been considering, how do we fund outside the budget? We think that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will help us to pool some resources, and we’ve been working on that, and also encouraging the states to do same in terms of health insurance,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
Thanking the UN team for their mission to Nigeria, the Vice President said Nigeria would ensure that it implements national action plans to deal with the issues of NCDs, Tuberculosis and improved healthcare for Nigerians generally.
According to the VP, “President Buhari has made the point recently, that we should be able to tackle our health and education concerns; essentially, that the health of our citizens is one of the most important responsibilities of government, along with security”.
On the need for increased public awareness on NCDs and TB, he noted that government would work with partners to ensure the message is amplified, especially among young people who make up a large percentage of the Nigerian population.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the UN team’s joint mission to Nigeria would help promote integration and identify opportunities for joint programming for optimal efficiency and impact.
According to him, “This mission promises to yield considerable benefits for Nigeria, given the high political commitment that has been accorded it. It is expected that the mission will x-ray our country’s efforts in addressing NCDs and TB, identify impediments to progress and come up with recommendations and suggestions”.
In the same vein, Diana Weil, the Coordinator, Policy, Strategy and Innovations Unit, Global TB Programme, WHO, commended the Federal Government for its “bold targets and commitments”
towards eradicating NCDs and TB, and integrating more responses to the different health challenges.
Weil said, “We are all committed to tackling NCDs, ending the TB epidemic, and ensuring that we can help all countries, particularly Nigeria, reach its goals.
“We believe that you are very much on the right track of strategic planning. You also have undertaken tremendous efforts in reviving, revitalising and strengthening primary health care under the Minister of Health and your leadership at all levels.”