By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Federal Government has expressed its determination to reposition the country’s health sector and replicate the Turkish model in order to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at a bia-monthly media briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday, said that the federal government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Turkey in order to replicate the model of their healthcare system in Nigeria.
He revealed that: “I recently inaugurated a joint Nigeria-Turkey ministerial committee on health reforms and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to follow up on the outcomes of a study visit of the Turkish health sector by a delegation which I led to Ankara.
“It provided us with the opportunity to learn first hand Turkish experience in UHC which left no one behind and which helped them to achieve almost 100 per cent coverage and in that regard we signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Turkey and terms of reference drawn up for a joint committee of Nigerian health experts and Turkish health experts.
“We noticed that Turkish health system started in the position we are in now in 1992 and they were able to carry out a lot of reforms and brought progress to their health system giving us a lot to learn from.”
He further stressed that: “It is our commitment to reposition the health sector with lessons learnt and also according to global best practices, especially from those places where impressive health sector reforms have been made.
“Turkish is one of those countries and is fast becoming a global destination for medical tourism.”
Commenting on the issue of Reproductive Health and Family Planning, the Minister disclosed that his Ministry and the National Population Commission (NPC), have concluded plans to engage the members of the National Assembly and the Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF) in order to appeal for improved budgetary allocation for Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
He, however, disclosed that the federal government is targeting to have a modern contraceptive prevalence rate of 27 percent by year 2030 and sustainably increase it to 65 per cent by 2050.
He, therefore, called for “multi-sectoral partnership with the NPC and other stakeholders to support the Federal Ministry of Health to actualize this intervention.”
According to him: “The Federal Ministry of Health and National Population Commission agreed to engage the National Assembly for adequate budgetary allocation towards meeting funding obligations to scale up reproductive health and family planning services.
“To engage the Nigeria Governors Forum for their support and also budgetary allocation for reproductive health, family planning services and so on.
“To engage development partners for technical and financial support also for reproductive health.”
He also disclosed that plans have been concluded by the Health Ministry and the NPC “to mobilise traditional, religious, political and community leaders to ensuring the appropriate sensitization and education of community members on the safety of health services including family planning and reproductive health and to also ensure sustained improvement in human and infrastructural resources for long term provision and utilization of right-based reproductive health and family planning services.”
According to Ehanire, the aim of the government is to align the population growth with the rate of economic growth so that there is even development.
He insisted that, “one factor that will support policy goal realization is accelerating the implementation of fertility control intervention, improving family planning and child birth spacing to scale up meaningful control of our population growth rate and also support our economic growth rate.”
He further noted that the priority of his ministry is to improve the health indices of the country, stressing that, this cannot be achieved without the cooperation of the public and the media.
By Dan-Maryam Zayamu