• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Stakeholders task states on improved health security financing

‘States should leverage PPP to deliver universal health coverage’

Stakeholders in the public health sector have stressed the need for states to invest more in health security financing for better preparedness especially in the wake of disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.

This call was made at the annual health security policy and financing forum with the theme “Exemplary Health Security Policy and Financing Reforms at the Sub-national Level” organised under the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI)-funded Prevent Epidemics (PE) project being implemented by Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL) in Abuja.

President of LISDEL, and a former Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Lanre Tejuoso, stressed that Nigeria and the rest of the world is still under threat of emerging and re-emerging diseases. He noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 brought to the fore the need for strong public health financing and better preparedness, particularly at the sub-national level.

While noting that some progress in strengthening capacity to adequately prevent and respond to disease outbreaks have been recorded at the federal level, Tejuoso said much more still needs to be done at the sub-national level.

In addition to improving health financing, the President said states need to put in place accountability mechanisms to ensure efficient use of scare resources and speedy implementation of health security plans.

The President also charged states that are yet to conduct their Joint External Evaluation (JEE) as provided by the International Health regulation (IHR).

“The country at the federal level has conducted its JEE, this has shaped epidemic preparedness and response policy, and some states have replicated this.

It’s very important to ensure that every state in the country conducts the exercise, as it is an important procedure for diagnosing the health landscape which sets the stage for an evidence-based and context-appropriate interventions,” Tejuoso said.

Gafar Alawode, Project Director, PE Project commended Lagos and Kano states for their policy and institutional frameworks for health security, and urged other states to draw lessons from the system.

Alawode also urged state governments to develop financial framework at sub-national level to facilitate the efficient implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS).

On how Lagos state, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, managed the pandemic, Akin Abayomi, the state’s commissioner of health said the state worked closely with relevant health bodies, and included the private sector in its response; in addition to other health security investments.

Read also: Six in 10 Nigerians lack access to primary health care services – Agency

The commissioner added that Lagos government built an economy around COVID such that people changed their businesses to COVID response. He said, “We privatised it and it generated a lot of income which drove the response. We did not take money from the health budget to manage the pandemic and there was no collateral damage, other health challenges did not suffer during our response to the pandemic.”

In her presentation, Chinekwu Oreh, Health Advisor, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) informed that the Forum has made health security its fourth priority area. She also said the Forum will develop a score card for states’ performance on health security policy and financing.

The PE Project is supporting Lagos and Kano states through budgetary advocacy that to strengthened the legal, policy, financing and institutional frameworks for health security; that is translating to creation of budget lines and allocation of more funds and accountability mechanism for health.

The annual health forum is an assemblage of critical stakeholders that play important role in shaping the policy, financing and institutional landscape for health security in Nigeria. The forum appraises challenges, lessons learned and accomplishment in the course of strengthening the health security landscape in Nigeria.