• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Govt should deepen partnership with private sector for healthcare revolution – Expert

Presidency, National Assembly urged to readdress funding of agencies in health sector

Expert in the health sector has reiterated the critical need for private sector involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare revolution in expanding access to quality healthcare services, driving innovation, and improving health outcomes for the populace.

Tinuola Akinbolagbe, managing director/chief executive officer of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN), speaking on Channels television, noted that private sector can boost government’s efforts in health insurance, particularly through the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), to provide accessible healthcare for Nigerians.

Read also: Nigeria aims for 15% growth in private health sector support

She expressed concerns over the current coverage, which she said stands at less than 5 percent of the population and highlights the need for an expanded and more inclusive approach.

Read also: What Nigerian government must prioritise to revive health sector – USAID

Acknowledging the progress made by certain states in extending health insurance coverage to the informal sector, Akinbolagbe highlighted the disparities that persist across different regions of the country.
“With the recent enactment of the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) in late 2022, expectations are high for expanded coverage, potentially bridging the gap in healthcare access for millions of Nigerians,” she noted.

With countries increasingly interested in public–private partnerships (PPPs) to mobilise funds and promote reforms in their health systems, Akinbolagbe underscored PSHAN’s pivotal role in advocating for private sector participation in health policy formulation, stressing the sector’s potential to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite the prevalence of outbound medical tourism.

Akinbolagbe expressed the optimism about the emergence of an inbound medical tourism, where Nigerians trained abroad return to establish healthcare facilities within the country, thus bolstering domestic healthcare infrastructure.

“In Nigeria, healthcare should be a thriving sector, contributing substantially to our GDP, as observed in many other countries. Instead of depending on outbound medical tourism, our focus should be on attracting inbound medical tourism, thereby transforming the healthcare sector into an economic driver,” Akinbolagbe remarked.

In discussing the government’s role, Akinbolagbe commended the current administration for its proactive stance towards healthcare reforms. She highlighted ongoing consultations between the health authorities and private sector stakeholders as a positive step towards fostering collaborative partnerships. “There is a need for a robust Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework to address existing infrastructural deficits and enhance service delivery across the healthcare spectrum,” Akinbolagbe said.

Addressing incentives to attract private sector investment, Akinbolagbe proposed tax incentives and contractual arrangements to align private sector interests with national healthcare goals. These measures, she argued, would create an enabling environment for sustainable investment and innovation in healthcare delivery. With the government’s demonstrated commitment to collaborative partnerships with the private sector, Akinbolagbe expressed optimism for the realisation of transformative healthcare reform in Nigeria.