Paul Obi in Abujaand Martins Ifijeh
The National Council on Health (NCH), the highest decision making body in the health sector made up of the federal government and the 36 states of the federation, has approved the New National Health Policy.
In a communiqué released after its emergency meeting in Abuja which held on September 8 the body observed that the new health policy will help strengthen existing rules governing the administration of the nation’s health system.
The Council “noted the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health in fast tracking the operationalisation of the National Health Act 2014; it also debated extensively and approved the Guidelines for the disbursement, administration and management of the Basic health care provision as presented.”
According to the NHC, “the guidelines would be shared with members of the National Assembly as part of the steps in ensuring the funds are released in the 2017 budget.”
The Council also “urged the Federal Ministry of Health to develop the second National Strategic Health Development including support for the development of sub-sectoral strategic health development plans to ensure timely finalisation and use as the compass for all investment in the health sector from 2017 onwards.”
It also “observed the progress made by some states to develop their own strategic health plans, expressed the need for FMOH to support such states to ensure alignment with the second NSHDP when approved.
The body further “decried the recent outbreaks of wild polio virus in Borno State and Lassa fever in Delta, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Rivers and Ondo States, and also acknowledged efforts of Federal and State Ministries of Health in curtailing disease outbreaks and epidemics.”
It tasked all stakeholders “to maintain high level of vigilance and support all efforts to ensure the success of planned intervention to stop the on-going outbreak and eradicate polio from Nigeria as well as to ensure effective control of Lassa fever across the country.”
The NHC likewise “directed all states further strengthen their existing surveillance and response systems including capacity building for epidemiologists and first responders as well as providing dedicated budget lines for outbreak and epidemic response.
They also commended “the support of the army medical corps in the struggle to ensure adequate vaccination coverage for all the hard to reach communities in Borno State and neighbouring states, the role of development partners in the health sector, the media and other relevant stakeholders.”
The Council reaffirmed its decision to convene the 59th NCH in Abia State