The 3rd THISDAY Healthcare Policy Dialogue has kicked off at the Musa Yar’Adua Conference Center with a technical session on Basic Healthcare Provisions Fund (BHCPF).

A Health Economist, Ministry of Health, Dr. Nneka Orji, in her presentation says with Nigeria having the worst mortality rate among children under five in the country, the BHCPF is more important now then ever.

“To address some of these issues, the BHCPF hopes to aid in reducing inequality in access to health, prevent financial catastrophe in access to health and ensure resources are allocated where the needs are greatest.”

The high powered summit brings under one roof healthcare stakeholders, development partners and policy makers to chat a way forward for the provision of basic healthcare to all states of the federation.

The Summit later on will honour states that have distinguished themselves in the provision of healthcare to their people.

At the Technical Session on Emergency Care, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osage Ehanire, said, the FG had put in place policies to make sure emergency services were carried out effectively. This, he said, include air ambulances, among others.

The minister said government was also identifying high performing medical services across the country, adding that each state ministry of health should have various ambulance points for cases of emergency medicine.

He said Federal Government had also allocated five percent of the Basic Healthcare Provisions Fund for Emergency Medicine.

He however noted that funding for Emergency Medicine should come from all levels of government.

Prof. BB Shehu, a Neurosurgeon:

“If a friend has an accident in the middle of the road can an ambulance land there and pick the patient? If the patient is lifted will he or she survive if taken straight to Dubai or US? That is why we must put our healthcare in order.”

“We need state government to know it’s not enough to have an emergency centre, they should prepare their staff for the work. They should be trained for emergency medicine.”

“Nigerians are blessed with personnel that can get good training but when they come back to Nigeria there are no equipment or facilities for them to work with”

“There is need for skillfully trained personnel to manage accident victims.”

A Trauma Surgeon, Sydney Ibeanusi, said:

“Nigeria needs to do more in terms of data on healthcare issues”

“Only living patients can be treated in hospitals. That is why emergency medicine is very important in our healthcare.”

“Nigerians should know the first thing to do under emergency is to recognise an emergency.

“The only trauma centre we have is the one in the National Hospital. It is music to my ear if government says they will put in all regions. If it actually works, it will be a big lift. “

Panel Session 2 on ‘Universal Health Coverage’

Prof. Aliko Ahmed, Rep, Chatham House London

“We need political will to address universal health coverage. It is not just about money, because we have seen it in India and other countries. I don’t think the issue of UHC is about resources but about how the resources are used.”

Kwara State Governor Abdulwahab Ahmed, Nigerian Governors’ Forum representative

“Nigerian governors are committed to UHC. 34 states already have a draft bill, while 8 states have commenced enrollment.”

Omatseye Claire, President, Health Federation of Nigeria

“60 percent if healthcare in Nigeria is driven by private health sector. Our governments must work with them if indeed we will make successes in our health sector.”

“Nigeria requires that collaboration to bring about the efficiency of the private sector. We can help change narrative in this sector. “

“We have shown how technology is changing our world. Our banks have been able to leverage on that, but health sector has not leveraged on it.”

“We can use technology to track and trace all our drugs and reduce fakery because many people are dying.”

Trina Hague, Practice Manager, World Bank Group, Washington

“The BHCPF is a positive move that will help in reducing pocket expenditure for healthcare among Nigerians. We are delighted the government has budgeted 55bn for basic healthcare. But government should ensure the release of the money, because it is one thing to budget, it’s one thing to implement.”

“All money should be accountable for. These funds have to flow in transparent way such that every level has to account for how the money is being spent. This is one way to encourage development partners to come in and support.”

Nduka Obaigbena, Chairman, THISDAY/ARISE Media Group:

“Away from politics,  it’s time for us to begin to focus on social infrastructure. It’s time to begin to address issues of poverty.

“We are supporting the federal ministry of health on the Saving One Million Lives Results for Performance Initiative.

“We thank the federal government for budgeting for the BHCPF.  We will need the VP here to tell us when the funds will be released because the World Bank has said they will give $20million when we release the money.”

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health:

 

“Two years ago we took a loan from the World Bank and we distributed it to states because we want to advance their differences.

“Many states have utilised that money so well and we are celebrating them today. In the past what we celebrated was the money spent,  but now we are celebrating real solutions in maternal health,  child health,  etc.

“We thank the VP for supporting the BHCPF. We assure VP we will deliver real healthcare to our people. This administration has done well and we are going to celebrate this.”