In furtherance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda and passion for improving the Wellbeing of Nigerians and the Health Sector, the National Assembly has flagged- off a Retreat for the Principal Officers of Health Committees, yesterday, in Abuja.
The initiative is aimed at improving the Health care sector especially the Primary Health Care centres across the nation with the collaboration and cooperation of members of the Health Committees.
Speaking at the occasion, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire commended both chambers of the legislatures for the initiative, as according to him, ‘’the event is the first of its kind and a good step in the right direction for the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies.
He expressed dismay at the rather slow pace of development which has bedecked the Health system. This, he said, was evidence in the appalling health indices.
In view of this, Dr. Ehanire informed that the guidelines guiding the Health Sector: the National Health Act, National Health Policy and National Strategic Health development plan 11 (NSHDP11) have been put in place.
The goal of the policy, he explained, is to strengthen the Nigerian fragile Health system and the deplorable condition in, especially the Primary Health Care (PHC) sub-system, for effective, efficient, equitable, accessible, affordable, acceptable Health care service delivery for its citizens.
He added that the policy is to also provide Health sector stakeholders with a framework to harness resources in other to develop the Health care towards achieving the Universal Health coverage as enshrined in the Nation Health Act in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While giving the historical background of the retreat, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Distinguished Sen. Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe commended his Predecessor Sen. Dr.Olanrewaju Tejuosho and his team for achieving a great deal in the Health sector during his tenure as the chairman Senate Committee on Health.
Senator Oloriegbe, said that he has spent three decades in the health sector and cannot shy away from the challenges facing the sector. ‘’Since a tree does not make a forest and the Nigeria health sector is faced with so many challenges, it is imperative to discuss and look for a way forward to improve the sector he noted.’’
He added that it is necessary to Acquaint the Principal Officers of both Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS) Health Committees with the Health Sector and prayed that at the end of the two- day retreat, the committees would have developed a road map that would guide the Ninth Assembly on Health to ensure that Nigerians have a stronger Health Sector.
Also speaking, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Nigeria, Dr Clement Peter, said the retreat is a testimony that legislative agenda has the purpose of focusing, catalysing and mobilizing political actors towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He maintained that the Distinguished Senators and Hon. Members of House of Representatives should work in synergy and for constructive engagement that brings togetherness in the legislative, Executive and the key development partners in the sector. He hoped that Nigerians would have access to good health service and be protected from health emergencies and public threat in pursuit of global agenda 2030.
He stated that since World Health Organisation (WHO) is a key partner in the Health Sector, it would continue to collaborate and engage with the Health Sector by extending the learning from the legislative network for universal Health coverage in Nigeria.
In his speech, the Country Director for Nigeria World Bank Rachid Benmessond congratulated and commended the Ninth National Assembly for organizing the retreat for the health –related committees of the National Assembly.
He pledged to join hands with the parliament to increase allocation for the health sector but would also advise that the level of spending is curtailed.
He reiterated the commitment and readiness of the World Bank Group to continue supporting the Nigeria government in developing innovative and sustainable solution in improving Human Capital Development for Nigerians.
Head, Press and Public Relations