More Stakeholders to Grace THISDAY Summit on Healthcare Financing

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, (Left) and the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole

Martins Ifijeh

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Owan Enoh; Chairman, House Committee on Primary Healthcare Service, Hon. Chike Okafor; and Chairman, House Committee on Health Institution, Hon Jocelyn Betty Apiafi; are among the stakeholders expected at the first edition of the THISDAY Summit on Healthcare Financing.

The summit, billed to hold at the Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre Abuja on Tuesday at 10am, is themed: “Moving Nigeria towards Universal Health Coverage through Appropriate Financing.”

It aims to galvanise discussions on why the country should prioritise financing of the health sector as a bastion of human capital development critical for the achievement of the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan of the country.

Other stakeholders scheduled to headline the Summit are key members of the World Bank Group, Senate President Bukola Saraki; Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole; Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuoso; Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Osagie Okunbor; and President, Global Development Programme, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chris Elias.

Among the World Bank chiefs expected at the summit are the Director, Health Nutrition Population of the World Bank Group, Washington, Olusoji Adeyi; the Country Director, World Bank Nigeria, Rachid Benmassoud; Chair of Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI) and Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala; and CEO GAVI, Seth Berkley.

Adeyi, who is the Key Note speaker for the Summit, is a Nigerian currently heading the Health, Nutrition, & Population Directorate of the World Bank Group in Washington.

He is described as a firm advocate for adequate healthcare financing. He believes investment in health is a powerful driver of economic growth and overall development.

In one of his articles co-authored by Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Adewole, and published in THISDAY recently, he said, “Ensuring a healthy workforce for today and the future amounts to investments in human capital, on a par with investments in the infrastructure for power generation, transport, and telecommunications. The Government of Nigeria has committed itself to ensuring universal health coverage for all citizens, and fulfilling that goal requires a commensurate investment of Nigeria’s own domestic resources. We reflect on this challenge and opportunities for improvement.”

THISDAY Newspaper Board of Directors in a statement announcing the reason for the Summit, said Nigeria’s health sector allocation in the national budget has continued to decline over the years despite the increase in disease burden and mortality rates.

It said the summit would be a policy dialogue where major healthcare organisations/individuals and the political class in the country will meet under one roof to chart a way forward for a more improved healthcare financing model for a sustained investment in the provision of quality healthcare to the over 180 million Nigerians, especially in the area of highly cost effective interventions.

The public, especially healthcare stakeholders’ organisations and individuals are therefore encouraged to attend and participate at the conversations during panel discussions.