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Examples of influence @ the national scene

Last week as part of my 13th year anniversary of writing a weekly health column in the pages of Daily Trust Newspaper, I commented about…

Last week as part of my 13th year anniversary of writing a weekly health column in the pages of Daily Trust Newspaper, I commented about an example of ‘Impact’ story which we could attribute to what we were writing in our weekly column. I made reference to an article published on Tuesday 27th January 2015 titled “Opportunities under new Global Financing Facility 4 Health”.
That singular action had catalysed series of email and telephone conversations as well as writing position paper and another article which contributed in shaping a global agenda that not only benefit Nigeria but Africa as whole.
Today, as I conclude the anniversary write ups, I intend to provide excerpts of some articles published that contributed in shaping health agenda as it related to the 2015 presidential election. Below were some of the articles published as our humble contribution to positively influence our leaders to invest in health and ensure health remain a political issue.
1. PMB and ‘PTF’ model 4 Nigeria’s Health Sector.
2. What the Senate may ask the Ministerial Nominees?
3. 100 days and Health Sector; Bottom-up Advocacy.
4. Health Sector as we inch towards 1st 100 days of PMB.
5. World Bank, PMB and Nigeria’s Health Sector.
6. Nigeria and  Domestic Financing for Health.
7. APC Policy Dialogue and Nigeria’s Health Sector.
8. “Health Minister; appoint one who has the will and commitment”
9. Imperative of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate’s Paper.
10. May 29th; President Buhari please speak out on Health.
11. Why the Health Sector must engage Buhari’s Transition Committee?
12. Investing in Health; A must for Politicians.
In the article “Imperative of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate’s Paper” I reported that I led a team of five national health civil society organizations and formerly present a paper to the President-elect Buhari Committee on Tuesday 12th May 2015 in Abuja.
I also mentioned that our presentation had coincided with the presentation of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, a former state minister for health to the same committee titled “Creating a More Responsive Health System to deliver a Better Health Care to Nigerians”.
Some of the problems as highlighted in the article were “poor governance and absent of accountability, weak foundation, absent of performance management, inadequate and inefficient financing and poor coordination of parallel vertical programmes all trying to solve similar problems.”
In another article “Health Minister; appoint one who has the will and commitment” I wrote that “the myriad of problems, the opportunities, and what is needed to be done to revamp the health sector should guide Mr. President in choosing the right person not only with the will and commitment but also with the requisite experience and tenacity to catalyze actions according to the APC manifestos and what have been recommended by the transition committee.
Let’s take a look at the section of the health sector in the transition committee report. First and foremost we must commend the transition committee for incorporating many of the submissions done by national health NGOs and that of Dr Muhammad Ali Pate during a formal presentation by the duo to the committee on Tuesday 12th May 2015. The incorporation is a demonstration of willingness to carry Nigerians along in designing policies and implementation.”
In another section of the article, I wrote that “I am happy to note that the report also recommended the full implementation of the key components of the recently signed National Health Act and to increase government funding for health care (Basic Healthcare Provision Fund: 1% of the consolidated revenue to be dedicated for primary healthcare service delivery via NPHCDA, and demand side financing via NHIS).”
In another article “What the Senate may ask the Ministerial Nominees?”  I wrote that “the long wait is over as President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) had submitted the 1st list of the ministerial nominees to the senate for screening. The screening process will start soon to enable establishing a federal cabinet for the 2016 budget process to commence soonest. Already in the list one can see three names that can potentially be assigned to ‘Minister of Health’ and Minister of State for Health’ if screened and appointed by PMB. Whether those three happen to meet our minimum standard or not chances are two of them will emerge to lead our health sector. We must be prepared to continue our advocacy and sensitization.”
In another section of the same article, I reiterated that “the senate should also ask questions related to health care finances. For example Nigeria is unable to co-fund its 2015 vaccine procurement, World Bank had to bail out the country with a soft loan. We are unable to procure Reproductive Health and Family Planning Commodities in line with the FP2020 London Summit Commitment, international development partners are helping us out with that. Our health budget over the last seven years as compared to the national budget is never above 8%, far from the 15% Abuja declaration and our per capita spending on health annually isn’t up to half of the standard requirement of $86. What will the nominees do differently to reverse this trend?”
In conclusion now that President Buhari has appointed a new minister of health, new minister of state for health and a new permanent secretary in the health ministry, this is the time to engage these three leaders and provide cogent guidance and recommendations on what needs to be done to put the health sector on the path of greatness.

All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi, Publisher Health Reporters ([email protected]

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