The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has decried the present state of the country’s health sector, saying that the sector is yet to record any significant improvement since 1999.
Mr Ehanire made the statement while speaking during a two-day retreat with health officials and members of health committees of the National Assembly in Abuja.
The minister, therefore, assured that the present administration would focus on implementing the National Health Act, NHA 2014, as well as other laws, policies and programs geared towards strengthening the sector.
The minister lamented over limitation of resources and poor policy implementation in the sector which falls short of the country’s teeming population.
He said: “Despite the abundance of polices, laws and programmes initiated over the years, Nigeria’s health sector still ranks among the worst in the world.
“Nigeria is ranked 140 out of 195 countries surveyed in healthcare Access and Quality Index published in the May 18 edition of the medical journal, The Lancet.”
Mr Ehanire promised that his leadership would ensure rapid implementation of the major provisions of the Act.
He also called for urgent implementation of the National Health Policy 2016 and the National Health Strategic Development plan of 2018 – 2022.
He said the full implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF, “will improve the quality of care in rural areas and trigger drastic reduction of the high Out-Of-Pocket spending for health services placed at 76 per cent by the 2017 national health accounts study. This will ultimately reduce the horrific health indices further.”
He added that primary healthcare is the cornerstone of Universal Health Coverage, UHC, “which will help in sanitizing other tiers of healthcare delivery in Nigeria”.
Mr Ehanire said lawmakers should advocate for adequate and full release of health budgets for prompt interventions by the states and all other tiers.