•House vows to strengthen sustainable funding for sector
Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Vice President Kashim Shettima yesterday reaffirmed Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to strengthening its healthcare system financing and accountability, especially the vaccine and immunisation programmes.
He explained that the Bola Tinubu-led federal government was irreversibly devoted to redefining the idea of modern leadership in the country, particularly as it pertains to the welfare of Nigerians.
Shettima, who stated this during a high-level strategic meeting on Gavi Alliance support to the Nigerian government at the State House, Abuja, applauded the Alliance’s invaluable contributions to improving vaccine coverage in Nigeria, noting the significant increase from 33 per cent to 57 per cent since 2016.
He said: “We are facing some fiscal and monetary challenges, but where there is the will, there is always the way. President Bola Tinubu is irrevocably committed to redefining the meaning and concept of modern leadership in this country. We are committed to the welfare of our nation.”
Shettima also acknowledged Gavi’s critical role in Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts, highlighting the last reported case in 2016, even as he emphasised the government’s dedication to sustainable domestic financing for immunisation programmes and its exploration of innovative financing mechanisms.
“We appreciate Gavi’s assistance in strengthening vaccine supply chain management and cold chain infrastructure. This has been instrumental in ensuring the availability and accessibility of vaccines to all Nigerians,” he added.
Soliciting Gavi’s continued support, Shettima outlined Nigeria’s plans for post-pandemic recovery and integration of immunisation services within broader health strategies.
He emphasised the need to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on immunisation programming and rebuild resilient health systems.
“We are grateful for Gavi’s unwavering commitment to Nigeria’s immunisation efforts. We look forward to continued collaboration with Gavi and other stakeholders to achieve universal immunisation coverage and ensure the well-being of all Nigerians,” he added.
Earlier, the Interim Chief Executive of Gavi Alliance, Mr David Marlow, while explaining the board’s visit to Nigeria, commended the Tinubu administration for its “strong commitment to primary healthcare and immunisation”.
He said the government’s commitment to re-establishing the presidential taskforce on routine immunieation and the increase in healthcare funding, among others, was also commendable.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday assured that it would strengthen Nigeria’s health system through well-tailored laws to ensure sustainable financing for the sector.
The Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Dennis Idahosa, stated this in Abuja at a retreat for members of the House committee on Healthcare services.
He said Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is the vision of a world where everyone has access to quality, affordable, and equitable healthcare services, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.
The lawmaker said achieving UHC was not merely a noble aspiration, but a moral imperative and a sound investment in the collective future.
According to him, a healthy population is a productive population, contributing to economic growth and social stability, while poor health hinders individual progress and strains economies.
Idahosa noted that primary health care represents the cornerstone of UHC, providing the first line of defence against disease and the gateway to the basic minimum package of health services as enshrined in the 2014 National Health Act.
He added that despite its undeniable importance, healthcare in general faces significant challenges ranging from dilapidated infrastructure, shortages of skilled health workers, limited demand for services, gross underfunding and perceived lack of absorptive capacity leading to low budget execution.
“In this context, effective legislation plays a central role in shaping and strengthening the health system. Through well-tailored and contextualised laws and policies, we can ensure sustainable financing for healthcare, ensuring that it receives the resources it needs to provide quality services,” he stressed.
Idahosa added that the House could also leverage its oversight function to expedite investments in the education, training, and retention of a competent health workforce and addressing the critical shortage of healthcare providers in underserved areas.
Also, the House Committee on National Planning and Economic Development has said that it would be embarking on inter-governmental budget reforms.
The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ayokunle Isiaka, who spoke at the he inaugural meeting of the committee in Abuja, explained that the committee would join hands with all well-meaning stakeholders to bequeath indicators that would be adjudged some of the best in this 10th Assembly.
Isiaka noted: “I want to assure you that I am fully committed and willing to deploy my time and resources towards the attainment of our vision to establish and sustain a first-class committee, managed professionally and responsibly.
“Very soon, the committee shall be embarking on inter-governmental and budget reforms of multi-faceted and interlinked nature for sustainable development.
“This calls for interventions to be tackled simultaneously through a coordinated approach for reversing the declining economy, stabilising the polity and integrating the various societal interests all with a view to enhancing national development.”