Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has advised stakeholders and Nigerians that putting money in the health sector was not expenditure but an investment that would yield dividends with time.
Adewole stated this in Abuja yesterday at the National Stakeholders â€˜Validation Meeting of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan framework.
He urged stakeholders in the health sector not to perceive the sector as expenditure oriented but an investment that would yield returns, adding that it was high time they changed the narrative.
According to him, â€œHealth is an investment because there is going to be return on investment.â€
The minister said there was a sense of urgency for governments at all levels particularly the state governments to have the political will to place high premium on budget financing for health because over time budget for health was grossly inadequate.
â€˜â€™Health is an investment issue; health is security and above all, health is a human right issue. The right to health should not be denied anyone,â€ he noted.
Adewole explained that the stakeholdersâ€™ meeting was convened to validate the framework that would be used to develop the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), adding that the strategic framework was underpinned by a range of core principles which include prioritisation of activities, high impact interventions, efficiency and effectiveness of service deliveries, focus on results, sustainability and accountability.
He said the federal government was partnering the state governments to revitalise the Primary Healthcare centres, adding that ailments like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and a host of others are better treated at the Primary Healthcare level.
He stressed the need for accurate and credible health data which he said was key to healthcare planning and resource allocation in the health sector, noting that most times, data are either not credible or not available.
The minister also underscored the importance of transparency and accountability, adding that for the state governments to get additional funding, they should give their financial reports.
He said the ministry is â€œmaking it a precondition for you to get another additional funding, so you must show us your financial reports.â€
Earlier,Â the Senior Health Economist, Department of Health Planning Research and Statistics, Dr. Francis Ukwuije, in his paper presentation titled: â€˜National Health Accounts (NHA) 2004-2014 Key FindingsÂ and Policy Implicationsâ€™ noted that out-of-pocket expenditure as a percentage of Total Health Expenditure(THE) was still high.