The Minister of Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire on Thursday disclosed that the whopping sum of N6.71 trillion is required for the implementation of the second National Health plan over a period of five years. Prof. Ehanire who stated this during an interactive session with the House Committee on Healthcare Services and Institutions, chaired by Hon. Pascal Obi.
According to him, the second national health plan is expected to reduce maternal mortality rate from 576 to 400 per 100,000 live birth, child mortality rate, Under-5 mortality rate. He added that the strategic plan is now a blueprint for the health sector for this period up to 2022 with focus on health sector development across all levels.
The Minister assured that necessary implementation mechanisms have been put in place to achieve the feat, such as Institutionalizing annual operation plan at all levels, finalized arrangement to sign country compact with development partners to foster alignment as well as conduct first annual joint review of the National health plan with the view to assess progress and identify challenges.
In the bid to fast-track the implementation of the second national health plan, the administration is expected to prioritize 7 key initiatives namely: implementation of the mandatory and universal health insurance in collaboration with state governments and FCT administration; operationalizing the basic healthcare provision fund which is 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), recruit and deploy 50,000 health extension workers through the state governments with the assistance of Federal Government; collaborate with private sector to establish high quality hospitals in Nigeria which delivers 60% of the country’s healthcare services; reduce the gaps on the health-related issues in the SDGs by 60%, etc.
While speaking on the stratification of the healthcare system, the Minister who observed that the primary healthcare system is the bedrock of the health sector, affirmed that “public healthcare system is not yet on the speed at all. We are looking for one functional primary healthcare in every political ward which should give us 10,000 units. “Ministry of Health has redesigned along with National Primary Healthcare Development Agency what the primary health centre should look like.
“It should have staff quarters because people looking for health will come at all hours of the day and they must be available. We want to have solar power light, we want to assure workers of light we want to assure security and we are looking for a transport system that can carry patients on referral at all hours of the day when patients could not find transport. “A woman who wants to deliver at 2am in a village and even if the primary health centre is 1 kilometre will not find transport and we have lost many women just because of lack of transportation.
“And also the primary healthcare centres has got a new design, we used to have more than 4,800 that we have operating now, which is about half of what we want where we did support and in this respect let me say that we know that building hospitals and primary health centres are favourite constituency projects of members of the House, members of the Senate, members of Assembly.
“But most of these structures are built without following the design. And the primary healthcare centre is not just any 4-walls. It has to follow a standard design that allows it to be useable. Secondly, the Ministry does not know when people start building these PHCs we don’t know where, we are not even enough advise on the design, we cannot even advise on the location; some are placed so far away from the community that nobody can actually go there.
“And we have marked about 30,000 such structures that are designated to be primary healthcare centres from all sources; 30,000 of which we want to use only 10,000 which we want to revamp. “Which means about 20,000 are almost like wasted with all the money stocked into it are almost wasted, Soni want to use this opportunity to appeal to members of the House who have constituency projects related to health sector to contact the Ministry of Health.
“We want to give you the design and if that area already has a primary healthcare centre, we will see how we can add value to it either by supplying light, water, staff quarters or ambulance to raise the performance level of that centre,” the Minister urged. He also unveiled plans to collaborate with State Governments in building Secondary healthcare level by constructing General Hospitals in each of the 774 Local Government Councils across the country.
Prof. Ehanire also unveiled plans to set up emergency ambulance services and toll service, just as he solicited for provision of adequate funding for the health sector and actualization of the 15% budget in line with Abuja Declaration, as well as timely passage of the National Health Insurance Scheme and other related legislations.