The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on Monday pledged to work closely with the Developing Eight (D-8) Organisation for Economic Cooperation, to improve Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Ehanire made the pledge in his address at a meeting with the Secretary-General of D-8, Amb. Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari, at the Ministry of Health, Abuja.
The secretary-general was at the ministry on the sideline of his three-day official visit to Nigeria to sign the Headquarters Agreement of the D-8 Health and Social Protection programme.
The visit, which began on from Jan. 19 will end on Jan. 21.
According to him, the establishment of the D-8 office in Nigeria is important for the government because it recognises health as a cornerstone of human capital development.
“It is a cooperation that we want and we have been looking forward to working closely with the (D-8) organisation.
“The Nigerian government is also in the process of building its health sector, particularly Primary Healthcare, which we are not only doing from top-down but bottom-top approach to build the healthcare system, going back to basics and building the entire grassroots in the sector.
“We are glad to have you establish the facility here, government assures you of all relevant support needed, so we shall look forward to the signing of the agreement,” Ehanire said.
Earlier, Ku Shaari had expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the support given to D-8 and the milestones so far recorded in terms of health programmes.
He described Nigeria as an important economy to the organisation and as the future hub of Africa due to its population strength.
“We are very happy that the government of Nigeria has given its support in provision of the facility and funding as well to start the project.
“We have taken some initiatives and we are able to see it.
“The idea when we started was about looking forward because D-8 is about helping member countries develop their economies.
“We found out in our studies that concentrating on the health sector will help leapfrog their economy.
“We look forward to working with local communities and citizens, not just focusing on primary healthcare but also innovation in the context of involving citizens in technology development and entrepreneurship,” the secretary-general added.
He further said that through such means, the organisation would be able to assist member countries and also promote knowledge-sharing toward the growth of the health, technology, and entrepreneurship sectors.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the D-8 which was launched on June 15, 1997 has eight emerging economies as members.
The economies include: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey. (NAN)