FG plans compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for federal workers
The federal government on Thursday said that COVID-19 vaccination will soon be made compulsory for all federal workers in the country.
Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, SGF, said the mandate will be given when Nigeria attains the full capacity to vaccinate its population.
Mustapha disclosed this in Abuja at the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum meeting with the Topic “Health system strengthening at sub-national level to help Nigeria achieve universal Health coverage”.
“Mandatory Vaccination for government workers will come. Before now, without Yellow fever vaccination, you can’t travel to any part of the world,” he said.
“The world is gravitating towards that direction and I believe when the westerners are done vaccinating their people, strict restrictions will be put in place on people who are yet to be vaccinated.
“The European Union has even created waivers for those who are vaccinated. So we must prepare our people. One of the reasons we want to start with the federal civil servants is because they will be traveling on behalf of the government and they don’t need to be left back at home due to vaccination.’
He added that the United Nations General Assembly will start very soon. “We will need our people there, if vaccination is made compulsory for all attendees, then those of us who are not vaccinated can’t attend.”
“We realize we don’t have sufficient vaccines so we cannot impose the mandate until the vaccines are available, sufficient, and deployed to every part of the country where people have the opportunity to access them then we can impose the mandate.
The SGF further called for collaboration between the state and federal government in revamping the health sector.
According to him, the collaboration will enable the tiers of government to apportion resources proportionately and avoid duplication.
Also speaking Betta Edu, chairman- Forum of Health Commissioners in Nigeria, affirmed the need for an efficient universal health coverage system in Nigeria. She urged stakeholders to cash in on the window opportunity of the Covid-19 pandemic, to revamp the sector.
She explained that the commissioners for health in Nigeria are gathered to brainstorm and come up with a communique on how Nigeria can attain universal health coverage, improve preventive care at the state level, and get more support for the state, especially regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The SGF has urged us to look for a way to end the incessant striking and we would be looking at the different role the private sector can play to improve the health sector in Nigeria. Above all, we will be looking at strengthening the primary health care system which is the foundation of the health system in Nigeria”, she said.
She stressed further the urgent need for a sustainable form of health care financing, a centralized government structure, and adequate infrastructure in the sector.
She also decried that different agencies and ministries are working in silos rather than collaborating to deliver quality health care services which the people demand.
Edu said, ”we need a sustainable form of health care financing which will decouple state, decouple health care financing even at the federal level from the general government’s budget or dependence on the economy of the country.
“If we can have a functional health insurance system where everybody mandatorily makes a little contribution except for the vulnerable that can be covered by the government both at the federal or state. If we can have a sustainable form of health financing, then that form can pay doctors, health workers, improve their lots, work on infrastructure, and provide the resources including prevention and health promotion which is what we can all do.”
In his remarks, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health reiterated the need for increased funding to the health sector.
According to Mamora, the underlying challenge of the health sector is funding and the government must find a way to improve funding.
He called for the taxation of commodities like alcohol, cigarettes, etc, to raise more money to find the health sector.
Speaking on the issue of the doctors’ strike, Mamora said dialogue was the best solution to resolving the issues.