Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the Minister of Health to initiate a summit that will dwell on the national health law to enable doctors have an idea of the law so that when states domesticate the bill into law, it will help to improve health service delivery in the country.
Speaking yesterday in Yenagoa, during a health summit, with theme: “Achieving improved system performance through strategic engagement”, the former president said that Nigerians go outside to country for their healthcare services, stating that those health facilities were not government-owned institutions, but privately owned.
He asked: “How do we incorporate government plans with the private sectors to give a very solid health service delivery to Nigerians?
We have excellent doctors abroad who have excellent brains that can stay outside and coordinate operations, but our problem as a nation is lack of infrastructure. “We can have teaching hospitals, but probably there is no equipment. Doctors may have the knowledge, but equipment is not there.
But a private man can create that environment and they can talk about how they will share the dividends because people pay for their health services.”
He added: “As a president, I signed so many bills into law both private and government and the national health bill was one of them”, adding that any nation that don’t have a good healthcare system suffers when there is any health pandemic.” The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire thanked the former president for signing the National Health Act into law, maintaining that the Federal Ministry of Health was pursing universal health coverage for all citizens.
The minister said: “National Health Insurance Scheme is working on a new programme called Group Individual Family Social Health Insurance Programme which will work with the state health insurance scheme to enrol citizens into the Social Health Insurance which offers comprehensive healthcare delivery at a nominal fee proposed to be N15,000 per person per year.
He stated that primary healthcare will be complimented by strengthening secondary health care, adding that “Primary health takes care of up to sixty or even more of the health needs of the population.
The minister regretted: “It is very sad that many people lose their lives daily in Nigeria when they have medical emergency either because they do not have the money to pay or they are not able to get help on time.
“The Buhari administration is working on a concept to start national emergency medical service and ambulance system in collaboration with 24 states and private medical practitioners.
“Over 39000 people in Nigeria die in accidents, about 50,000 women to emergency every year, while about 400,000 children under five die every year.”
In his welcome speech, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, maintained that the summit shows that Bayelsa was really a heathcare oriented state.
Diri said: “Our state was one of the least impacted COVID-19 states in the country. The state of our health is directly proportionate to the wealth of our state and this propensity government cannot actualize its promise to Bayelsans if attention is not given to the health sector.
“The healthcare system has everything to do with governance. Our healthcare system must be in its best functional state from infrastructure, equipment, consumables and staff morals at all time. “It is a vision my government is working very hard to actualize.
By our continuous tracking, it has been shown that our heathcare service has not been truly met.
Some statistics showed that only about half of the pregnant women in Bayelsa received antenatal care from a trained service provider and about half of their children were not properly immunized while prevalent cases of AIDS still remains high.”