Eko Hot Blog reports that the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, has revealed the priorities of the administration of President Bola Tinubu for Nigeria’s health sector.
He made the revelation on Thursday at a town hall on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Alausa listed at least four priorities that include returning accountability to the health sector, improving the workforce’s capacity, and creating up to 100,000 jobs within four years, and making health a part of national security.
According to the minister, the health ministry had lacked accountability for the last decade.
Alausa, who lamented the high maternal mortality rate, promised that the new administration will reverse the troubling trend and prioritise children and maternal health.
He also disclosed that the health ministry is working to secure funding from international development partners to strengthen Nigeria’s health system.
“Number one priority is tackling governance in the health sector. We would make people accountable; there will be regulation. Health facilities are there doing whatever they want; no one is holding them [their managers] accountable,” the health minister said.
“Second thing we are going to be doing is working aggressively to improve our workforce’s capacity to strengthen the health system.
“Third thing we’re going to do… Nigeria is so endowed. In the health sector, we will unlock the value chain of the system in terms of medical industrialisation. Within the next four years, we’re hoping to create 100,000 well-paying jobs in Nigeria.
“The fourth priority is starting to look at health as part of our national security. Beyond physical security, health is part of national security. If you look at what happened with COVID, not a single bullet was shot but millions of people died.
“On sickle cell, since Minister Pate and I got into office, we’ve completely eradicated the word “Donor”. We are calling them International Development Partners. Billions of dollars are coming into Nigeria but what happened over the last 10 years is there was a lack of accountability; everybody was just doing what they wanted. Zero accountability.
“Now, we’ve met with development partners and we’re coordinating the allocation of their resources.
“Beyond the infectious diseases, we will be focusing more on immunisation. What we are saying now is, today, Nigeria has two million kids with zero doses of immunisation. And maternal morality rate is high; it’s mind-boggling.
“In 2018, we had 557 young women who died from doing nothing wrong. They only got pregnant and pregnancy is not a disease. Guess what? By 2019, the number doubled to 1,020 women who died out of every 100,000 pregnant women. That is dangerous; we will reverse that.
“Also, in the area of HIV, maternal to child transmission is high; we have 8 out of 10 children contracting HIV from their mothers because the mothers did not have access to antenatal care.
“We just met with the three biggest global health development partners; Global Fund, the U.S. Global coordinator for HIV/AIDS, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s adviser on Malaria two weeks ago. We are looking at realigning an investment of almost $2 billion coming to Nigeria to see how we can better spend that money.”
The health minister concluded his speech with the vow that Nigeria’s future is bright due to the “determination” of President Tinubu to fix the country.
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