• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria vows to reach 100m with World Bank’s healthcare push

Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate

Nigeria is prepared to reach 100 million citizens with quality and affordable health services, supported by the World Bank’s renewed push to expand healthcare access for 1.5 billion people globally by 2030, Muhammad Ali Pate, coordinating minister of Health and Social Welfare has said.

The minister said it is crucial to back the ambitious plan with technical and financial resources, given the huge shortfall Nigeria faces with public health funding.

“We are very encouraged when we hear about Ajay 1.5 billion. That’s a significant commitment by the bank but then backing it with the resources that are needed is imperative. For Nigeria for instance, we can deliver 100 million out of that 1.5 billion if the resources are there and we are really seeing an appetite from our development partners to contribute,” Pate said, speaking on expanding health coverage for all at the World Bank Spring Meetings on Thursday.

The bank plans to provide a basic standard of care required from infancy to childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, through a strategy targeted at 1.5 billion people.

Its core focus includes expanding healthcare coverage to non-communicable diseases, expanding operations in underserved communities like remote villages and working with governments to break financial barriers to health access.

For middle-income countries, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IRBD) will provide financing to incentivise government investments in health and enabling regulations, according to an official statement released on Thursday.

The bank also noted that with regulatory certainty and reliable governance in place, it opens the door for more private sector investments, especially in local production of medications and protective gear.

Ajay Banga, World Bank Group President said providing a basic standard of care for people throughout their lives is critical for development.

“This ambition won’t be realised with a solo effort. It will require partners, a coalition of public and private sector, working together to expand access to health care services,” Banga said in the statement.

Highlighting the efforts being to transform Nigeria’s healthcare, Pate stated that government is prioritizing the overhaul of the primary healthcare system under the President’s Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative.

The government is working to increase the number of functional primary health care centres from 8,800 to 17,000, Pate stated, adding that it is retraining 120,000 frontline health workers and enabling them with digital technology to function.

He further explained that affordability of care is being addressed through the Vulnerable Group Fund to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable can afford the services they need to improve maternal and child health, while also tackling the rise NCDs such as hypertension and diabetes

“That is the approach that we are taking so that we can guarantee basic healthcare to all Nigerians over time, raise the domestic resources, and work with our partners in a sector-wide manner as a federal system between the federal government and the state governments, so that we pull in the same direction to improve health outcomes,” Pate said.

To achieve health for all, Pate said it requires an integrated effort from all levels, from states to development partners, and with a laser focus on results at scale.