Assessing Tinubu's Renewed Hope In Health A Year After By Aishat M. Abisola

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assessing tinubus renewed hope in health a year after by aishat m abisola
Assessing Tinubu's Renewed Hope in Health a Year After By Aishat M. Abisola

Upon his inauguration on May 29, 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his administration embarked on a mission to reform Nigerias health sector, address longstanding issues and improve healthcare delivery across the nation.

It is however apt to assert that before Tinubus government was enthroned, Nigerias healthcare system was plagued by several issues such as insufficient infrastructure and poorly equipped hospitals and clinics (particularly in rural areas). Many Nigerians, especially in remote regions, had limited access to basic healthcare services.

Nigeria was and is still facing a chronic shortage of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and specialists as a result of brain drain. Nonetheless, President Tinubu, through the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate; has made significant strides in healthcare reform since assuming office. The key initiatives and reforms introduced (and highlighted below) aim to improve the health sectors infrastructure, accessibility, and overall efficiency, targeting several critical areas:

1. Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative: During the commemoration of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day in December 2023, the federal government launched this reform which was focused on a comprehensive overhaul of the healthcare system. The initiative plans to mobilize around $2.5 billion between 2024 and 2026, sourced from both federal contributions and international development partners. This fund aims to revamp primary healthcare infrastructure, re-train frontline health workers, and improve medical equipment.

2. Expansion of Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs): Tinubus administration has committed itself to doubling the number of fully functional PHCs in Nigeria from 8,809 to 17,618 by 2027. These centers will be equipped with improved infrastructure and linked to a comprehensive emergency care system to ensure better service delivery across the nation.

3. Redesign of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF): The BHCPF is also being restructured to improve access to essential healthcare services as mandated by the National Health Act of 2014. The redesign of this fund is expected to ensure better financial protection and healthcare accessibility for the vulnerable populations. The administration has already reinstated funding for 13 National Health Regulators across Nigeria.

4. Universal Health Coverage (UHC): President Tinubus administration has constantly been reiterating its commitment to achieving UHC, aiming to make healthcare a fundamental right for all Nigerians. This also includes efforts to expand health insurance coverage and create healthy risk pools that will improve financial access to healthcare.

5. Local Manufacturing and Health Value Chain Development: The administration has gathered its focus is on increasing the domestic production of generic drugs, vaccines, and medical devices such as syringes. This initiative aims to reduce dependency on imports, lower costs, and improve the quality of healthcare services. The appointment of a National Coordinator for the Unlocking Healthcare Value-Chain initiative, Dr. Abdu-Mukhtar, underscores the administrations commitment to enhancing the healthcare sectors economic and operational aspects. A ban has already been passed against the importation of plastic syringes to boost local production in Nigeria.

Achievements by the Ministry of Health in the Past Year

1. Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage: By February 2024, the federal government had enrolled 750,000 more Nigerians into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), significantly increasing the number of people with access to healthcare coverage.

2. Recruitment of Medical Professionals: Over 2,000 medical professionals were recruited to address the workforce shortage in the healthcare sector, enhancing the capacity to provide quality healthcare services across the country.

3. HPV Vaccine Rollout: The Ministry of Health has introduced and administrated the HPV vaccine to 4.7 million girls in 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, a major health concern for women in Nigeria.

4. Response to Diphtheria Outbreak: An emergency taskforce was constituted by the Coordinating Minister of Health to tackle the diphtheria outbreak, which severely affected regions like Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Borno, Kaduna, and Bauchi, accounting for 97% of confirmed cases.

5. Operational Guidelines for NHIA: The Ministry revealed the new operational guidelines for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for the purpose of improving the average Nigerians financial access to quality healthcare and move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

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