Stakeholders in the health sector have tasked the incoming government to prioritise by investing in the health sector in the country.
According to them, investments in the primary healthcare system are the most efficient and equitable approach to achieving universal health coverage.
They noted that strong health systems are fundamental to economic security.
Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, had reeled out his plans on tackling the challenges faced in the health sector, but experts say his plans must go beyond promises.
The Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo said sustained investments in primary health care can identify cases and carry out an effective public health response to the pandemic more quickly.
Prof Adeyemo said “The Federal Government and the National Council of State need to appeal to the state government to wake up to their responsibilities. Most of the states’ primary healthcare centres have very little to write home about.
“There are so many health cases we see in our teaching hospitals but should not be, most of these cases should rather be attended to at the primary health centres, and the General Hospitals that belong to the subnational are not optimal,” he noted.
He said countries with sustained investments in primary health care, with communities at the centre, can identify cases and carry out an effective public health response to the pandemic more quickly.
Also, a Professor of Public Health at the University of Ilorin, Tanimola Akande said the incoming government must endeavour to allocate a minimum of 15 per cent of the country’s annual budget to the health sector.
“If we get it right, other things will go well. The 15 per cent is the minimum agreed upon, it will be a good thing to jump up to that but that will be a tough call from crawling from five per cent to 15 per cent but that is not impossible.
“Then, managing resources that are available, it is not just about throwing in money.”
Akande, who is a former national chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, also urged the incoming government to work towards the UHC.
He said the blueprint for attaining a UHC is readily available. “There is a committee already working on the health sector reform and there is no need to reinvent the will. They should just do the needful concerning those policies and reports,” he added. “It’s more than enough for guidance to do the right thing in the health sector.”
The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Emeka Orji noted that the incoming administration must increase the budgetary allocation for it to be able to tackle the challenges in the sector.
“The incoming government must not pay lip service to the sector. The health sector is important in any country, and for any administration to claim to have delivered on their office, they have to pay attention to the health sector because Nigeria’s health sector is collapsing,” he added.