Speaking at an Apolitical Health summit organized by the Nigeria Health Watch which brought experts from all over the world to critically dissect the Nigeria Health sector, the political economy and the future of the health sector in Nigeria, the APC National women Leader Dr Betta Edu who spoke in her capacity as a Member of the Presidential Health Reform Committee, Former Chairman of all Health Commissioners in Nigeria and the former Commissioner for Health in Cross River state as well as a practicing public Health specialist, Fellow of Royal School of Public Health, United Kingdom; said health practitioners must learn to frame the Health sector challenges in a way that makes it attractive for politicians to understand and invest in the health sector.
Nigeria can generate over 10 Billion dollars yearly from its Health sector and still achieve its goal of providing access to quality affordable healthcare for all its citizens if the right investments are made strategically in the health sector under the right leadership. She said Healthcare is not just an industry but an equality booster when Universal Health Coverage is pursued, it is also an economy contributor.
For us to achieve universal Health Coverage, we must ensure that we increase the population of persons registered under Health insurance scheme to at least 40% in the next two years that way the entire population stand a chance of benefiting from Subsidies care which will cut “out of pocket” expenditure on healthcare from above 70% to under 20%.
Betta Edu Says Tinubu Will Ensure Nigeria Achieve Universal Health Coverage
COVID-19 has exposed lots of weaknesses in the health sector, but it has however created opportunities to understand the power of private sector involvement in the health sector. We saw businesses mobilize themselves, and the entire private sector work amongst themselves and with the public sector to deal with the challenges of the pandemic. We can use same model to address the entire health sector and in particular the National Health Insurance scheme; building a collaborative framework that can force start the health sector moving it to a world class standard that will attract medical tourism and get a healthier population!
Health is a public good, Health is a right of our citizens and health is everyone’s business. Government, Private organisations, individuals have a part to play in their own health and in the health care of our whole nation. We must move towards being self sufficient in health care! This is in line with our focus to grow the economy and secure the lives of our people, a healthier population is a more productive population and this makes good economic sense too.
Looking through the Action plan Renewed Hope there is great prospect for the future of the Health sector in Nigeria. The health sector which has been bewildered with high brain drain, dilapidated infrastructure, inadequate health financing, low insurance coverage and several other challenges; was addressed head-on by the recently unveiled Tinubu’s Action plan. The right political Leadership with the political will to invest in healthcare will turn around the lot of the Nigeria Health sector and give us a healthier population and economy!