By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said on Monday that the proposed Health Sector Reform in Nigeria is aimed at redefining and transforming the health care system in the country through partnerships between the government and key stakeholders, especially the private sector.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony/diagnostic review kick-off workshop of the Health Sector Reform Programme between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Vesta Healthcare-the consultant for the provision of diagnostic review advisory services for the health sector reform which held in Abuja, the minister assured Nigerians that the proposed reform was not outright privatisation of the health sector.
He said the reform would identify ways to transform and streamline the health sector institutional frameworks and modernize existing government hospitals even as he noted that the sector in Nigeria over the years had been beset with myriad of problems resulting in poor outcomes and very low global ranking.
“The Nigerian health system is struggling in the bottom among member states of the World Health Organisation due to a variety of reasons among which are are poor infrastructure in health care delivery system,inadeaquate utilization of the private sector and mal-distribution of health workforce”, he said.
The minister regretted that Nigeria was losing huge revenue to outbound medical tourism as its citizens travel out of the country in search of better medical care and the emigration of doctors from Nigeria’s medical schools to other countries in search of better opportunities.
According to him, Nigeria lags behind in indicators for health, education, nutrition and employment because economic growth has been inadequate with wealth concentrated in very few hands and that the proposed reform in the health sector “ will aim to improve the availability, accessibility, quality and affordability of health services by expanding health services coverage and implementing initiatives which will radically transform healthcare delivery across Nigeria”.
Also speaking, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex A. Okoh said the reform is aimed at improving the availability, accessibility, quality and affordability of health services by expanding health services coverage to radically transform health care delivery across Nigeria.
He noted that the reform would increase private sector participation and funding and not a divestiture of the health assets, stressing that it has two paths; Institutional reformation pathway and hospital modernization pathway.
Okoh said a holistic and comprehensive reform of the sector was required to create the right environment to attract funding and participation from multilateral development institutions and the private sector; and that it was envisaged to reposition the sector and ensure efficient and effective healthcare service delivery.
He stated that the partnership would provide financial and human capital solutions to the problems; bring about technological development in the health sector as private partners infuse a wide range of innovative healthcare solutions into the sector.
The Director General called for the collaboration of all key stakeholders in the Nigerian healthcare sector in a unique partnership to turn around its fortunes.
In his remarks, the Managing Partner of Vesta Healthcare, the consultant for the provision of diagnostic review advisory services for the health sector reform, Dr. Folabi Ogunlesi, said that signing ceremony marked a historic event in the process of health sector reform in Nigeria.
He commended the BPE for its diligence and support; and promised a successful reform of the health sector.