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Doctors set three targets for new health ministers

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has set three targets for the country’s new health ministers to work on—making primary healthcare sustainable, interfacing with other ministries…

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has set three targets for the country’s new health ministers to work on—making primary healthcare sustainable, interfacing with other ministries to achieve better health and encouraging federal government to increase health budget.

The association highlighted the target areas as it prepares for its second National Health Summit in November, the first of which gave rise to proposals that led to the National Health Act.

NMA president, Dr Francis Faduyile, told a press conference in Abuja, “The major problem is for us to be able to have a sustainable primary health care. It is beyond the ministry of health but it is primarily state.

“We expect the new ministers to work with states to ensure states increase funding to ensure primary health centres are functional,” said Faduyile.

“If primary health care is good, the pressure will reduce on the secondary and tertiary systems.”

Former minister of state for health, Osagie Ehanire, was named early August as health minister, replacing Isaac Adewole, while Adeleke Mamora was named minister of state for health.

Faduyile said the new ministers must also interface with other ministries so they can work well together, noting that sustainable healthcare was multi-dimensional, with factors that cut across the purviews of other ministries, including agriculture, environment and finance.

He added that the new ministers must also encourage federal government to increase funding to health.

“They should also encourage the public to help increase health financing by using the National Health Insurance Scheme,” he said.

The National Health Summit of the NMA has helped drive the enactment of the National Health Act and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund—but this year it focuses on “patient-centred care”.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been slated as special guest of honour, the United Arab Emirates health minister as panelist, Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as speaker, with former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, to chair the opening ceremony.