The Nigeria Health Watch will host the 8th edition of its Future of Health Conference and it is themed ‘The Political Economy of Health: Investing in the Future of Nigerial’.
The conference will take place on Thursday, October 13, 2022.
The aim of the conference is to provide a platform for critical stakeholders in healthcare, finance, politics, and other allied sectors to discuss the factors that influence Nigeria’s health policies; how political, social, and economic factors shape individual and population health outcomes, health service development within the economic and political context, and how to create a national health service that meets the needs of all Nigerians.
It will gather stakeholders in policy making, economics, and healthcare to discuss the need for more innovative, scalable, and sustainable healthcare strategies.
Vivianne Ihekweazu, managing director, Nigeria Health Watch, stated that “the recent pandemic exposed how fragile our health sector is and we need to create an avenue for discourse to ensure that our leaders and policymakers prioritise healthcare as a critical investment and catalyst for economic growth”.
Ihekweazu added that continuous advocacy is essential for developing and implementing policies that effect positive change, growth, and development in Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Speaking also about the conference, Uche Nwagboso, communications manager, Nigeria Health Watch, stated that next year’s general elections will be pivotal as the focus is on ensuring that the discourse on health goes beyond policymakers in the health sector, but also to people outside the health sector as health affects everyone.
“We have an amazing line-up of speakers who will be speaking on key issues such as the economy of health, politics and health, and political leadership in health,” he said.
Nwagboso also added that the “expected lineup of speakers includes experts and thought leaders from the public and private sector, finance organisations, policymakers, and influencers at state and national levels, development professionals from civil society organisations and state public service officers”.
Another objective of the conference is to amplify the role of local, state, and federal government in creating a more favourable environment for better healthcare access.
As the 2023 general elections approach, an opportunity has been presented to take advantage of the potential policy window to push healthcare up the political agenda and ensure that it takes its rightful place of prominence alongside the economy, security, and other priority issues in the political discourse.
The politicisation of health has seen the increased involvement of political leaders in health affairs and has revealed the need for greater political will and commitment to drive lasting changes in the nation’s health agenda.
There is a need to prioritise health policies, as it is in the enlightened self-interest of political leaders to drive health policies that lead to
improved access to quality and equitable healthcare for citizens.
Ultimately, there is a need to push health up the political agenda in order to make meaningful progress toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and for improved health indices in Nigeria.
According to a statement made available to BusinessDay, a 7-point communique will be shared with stakeholders in both public and private sectors at the end of the conference, through print media, highlighting key outputs from the conference.
The Future of Health Conference is Nigeria Health Watch’s flagship event and previous conferences have focused on Universal Health Coverage in 2015, Health Meets Tech in 2016, Business of Health in 2017, The Diaspora as Nigeria’s Brain Gain in 2018, Quality in Healthcare in 2019, Innovations in Health in 2020, and Gender Equality – Breaking Glass Ceilings in 2021.
“The Future of Health conference this year will be a hybrid event to enable a wider audience to participate in the discussions,” the statement read.