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Buhari pledges implementation of National Health Act

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Despite not being captured in the 2016 health budget proposal of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured on the implementation of the National Health Act, signed into law at the twilight of last administration, precisely on October 31, 2014.

The National Health Act provides for the regulation, development and management of the country’s health system while setting standards for rendering health services at federal, local government, private and community levels.

Isaac Adewole, minister of health, informed of President Buhari’s assurance on Tuesday in Abuja, while speaking on Health Policy dialogue organised by Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) with the theme: “2014 National Health Act: Funding and Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.”

Adewole said: “Let me correct the impression that the National Health Act wouldn’t be implemented. The President had given assurance in a written document that he would launch the gazette by himself and flag off the implementation of the National Health Act soonest.

“What we need to focus on, since we had had the President’s assurance on the implementation, is how the implementation is going to be done, while assuring that medical tourism would be sanctioned once the implementation comes on full stream.”

Speaking further on the review of the health policy, he said: “Professor Eyitayo Lambo, former minister of health, is heading the review of the National Health Policy, which would also enhance our strategy in handling overall health issues and health emergencies that often confronts us as a people. We are determined on having active and all-encompassing National Health Policy for proper direction.”

He, however, assured that the National Health Act would be captured in the latest National Health Strategic and Development plan.

Meanwhile, Ben Anyaene, chairman, board of trustees for National Health Act, said the Federal Government must take a leading role in the implementation, “ensuring even the supplementary budget captures the provisions of National Health Act, since it is not in the present budgetary provisions.

“Once the bill begins to work, most of the things we are talking about Universal Health coverage would be covered.”