Mamora advocates for more funding of health sector

The Minister of State for health, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, has advocated for increased funding of the nation’s health sector, as it was its biggest challenge.

Mamora made the call at the quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum, on Thursday, in Abuja.

The Forum, whose theme is: “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”, was convened primarily to discuss how to strengthen the health system at sub-national levels, with an overall objective of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“Whether you are talking of health infrastructure, equipment in the hospitals and human resources for health, the underlying factor is funding.

“Even if you have enough human resources in the health sector, you need to take care of emoluments, incentives, therefore, you need funding period. That is why we need to find ways of increasing the funding for the health sector.

“We need to begin to tax commodities like alcohol, cigarettes, which cause a lot of damage to the human body; the whole thing will end in the health sector, therefore, increasing the spending in the sector.

”That is why we are saying that if people take these things, let us find a way to put some tax on it so that we can get some money to fund the health sector, in addition to the existing funding structures.” he said.

On the protracted strike by the National Association of Resident Doctor (NARD), the minister stated that as a medical practitioner he was not saying that some of the issues raised were not genuine and legitimate, but that the government is saying at this point in time, is a period of pandemic.

“This is a period where almost the whole world is on its knees. Therefore, it is not a time to start straining the health system. Even in a war situation you still come back to a round table.

“So my approach from day one is to say let us dialogue over these things. Secondly, you need to know the system in which we operate. The way the Civil Service generally is structured is that you do not have a quick fix.

“There are processes and procedures that you need to go through to get things done. There is, therefore, a need for dialogue and patience in the overall interest of the oath that we all took as doctors on graduation, which is primarily that your patient shall be your first concern.” he added.

Cross River state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betha Edu, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioners’ Forum, noted that the Federal government’s policies would not work well, if they were not stepped down to the state level.

According to Edu, the meeting will focus on issues to do with the implementation of health policies, understanding the working of partners, spreading out of partners amongst states, the need for the private sector to step up their game and support more states in Nigeria and the need to change Nigeria’s disturbing indices.

NAN report that the meeting would also focus on such health issues as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund; strengthening Primary Health Care; HIV/AIDS control with its multisectoral consequence; UHC, Health Insurance, as well as various high impact interventions being implemented either directly or with development partners.

The meeting is expected to identify challenges and implementation of partnership support at the subnational level, while articulating measures to address them as agreed upon at the end of the event. (NAN)