The Federal Ministry Health (FMOH), has inaugurated the National Tertiary Health Institutions Standards Committee (NTHISC), the second since the National Health Act (NHA) was signed into law in 2014.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said at the inauguration on Tuesday, in Abuja, that the current administration had commenced a holistic health reform.
He said that with the lessons learnt from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the committee would provide a great opportunity to rejig the tertiary health care services.
“It is imperative to refocus the institutions to become centres of excellence in health care and stem medical tourism which costs Nigeria billions of naira annually.
“In constituting this committee, FMoH has carefully selected seasoned health care professionals with expertise in different aspects of the health care ecosystem, supported by the statutory regulatory bodies in the health sector,” he added.
Ehanire quoted the NHA 2014 functions of the committee to include; “advise the minister on matters affecting the establishment of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria; prepare periodic master plans for the balanced and coordinated development of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria.
Other functions of the committee were to establish minimum standards to be attained by the various tertiary health facilities in the country and also to inspect and accredit such facilities.
The committee was also mandated to make relevant investigations and recommendations to the federal and state governments on tertiary health care services in the national interest.
The committee is to “advise the Federal Government on the financial needs, both recurrent and capital, of tertiary health services and in particular, investigate and study the financial needs for training, research and services and make appropriate recommendations for these;
“Set standards and criteria for allocation of funds from the Federal Government to tertiary health institutions and monitor their utilisation, source for grants as laid down by the committee,
“Collate, analyse and publish information in relation to tertiary health care services annually.
“Lay down broad operational guidelines in all areas of management for use by the Tertiary Hospitals Management Board, as well as monitor and evaluate all activities and receive annual reports from the tertiary hospitals and supervise annual peer review.
“Carry out such other activities as are conducive for the discharge of its functions under the NHA”.
The Minister noted that he may give the committee directives of a general nature not relating to the particular matters with regard to the exercise by the committee of its functions under this Act.
The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Abiodun Phillips, who spoke on behalf of the committee, described the inauguration of the committee as an achievement.
“Because I know the committee has been in existence for some years now. Remembering to inaugurate another committee to go on with what has been achieved.
“Is something praise worthy. When the Hon. Minister called me that he wanted me to be in charge, or to be chairman of this committee; he expressed his wish and wants this committee to achieve a lot on the promises of his 100 per cent support.
“I can assure you that we will all do our best not to disappoint you. I’m promising you we shall not fail to do that.
“As you have also promised social support, and we are promising you that we shall perform,” he said.
He noted that the NHA-2014 meant that all the institutions in the country at the moment were performing without the act guiding them.
“No license given to them. And nobody has been monitoring their performance. And this is part of what we are supposed to do. I wish we could do that by the special grace of God.
“This committee is more of a commission like the National University Commission. And then, I believe, the performance is supposed to be like a commission on the Ministry of Health, because somebody else will monitor what is going on.
“Somebody, who will set the standards when you say you are establishing a tertiary health institution, you have to know is not just having the money or making buildings,” he said.
Dr. Mairo Mandara, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, assured Nigerians of doing their very best, as she noted the committee would be dispassionate in telling the truth.
Mandara, who also has extensive knowledge of public health systems and managing maternal and child health programmes in Nigeria, called on Nigerians to support them to question the norms.
“There are a lot of things that are going wrong. We need to stand up tall and stand by the truth and say what is right and also push, it’s not going to be comfortable, it’s not going to be easy, but if we are going to improve, we’ve got to tell ourselves the truth, because there was a time when the medical practitioners were next to God.
“And now, we are as sellers of spinach in the market. We need to trace back our steps and with your guidance and help, and with the support of God, I’m sure we’re going to do a good job,” she observed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the members of the committee were Prof. Abiodun Phillips as Chairman; Dr. Mairo Mandara (Northeast); Dr. David Imuse (South South) and Prof. Adewale Oke (Southwest).
Other are: Dr. Saleh Ngaski Garba (Northwest); Pharm. Mashood Lawal (Northcentral); Dr. Chinwe Igwilo (Southeast).
Dr. Adedamola Dada (FMC Ebute Metta) and Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo (UMTH Maiduguri) are representing Chief Executives of the tertiary health institutions, alongside representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The committee also has Dr. Ibrahim Bolaji (UK), Ms. Izoduka Asoro (USA) as ex-officio members from the Diaspora; while the private sector health alliance is being represented by Dr. Tinuola Akinbolagbe, while Registrars of the 14 regulatory bodies in the health sector are statutory members.
They include the National Postgraduate Medical College, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, Medical Rehabilitation Therapist Registration Board (MRTB), Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (MLSCN) and Dental Therapists Registration Board.
Others include, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board, Community Health Practitioners Registration Board (CHPRBN), Dental Technologist Registration Board of Nigeria (DTRBN), Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria
The Health Records Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN), Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN), and Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN) make up the rest of the committee’s members.
The Director and Head of Department of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr, Adebimpe Adebiyi would serve as the committee’s secretary. (NAN)