Dr Salma Anas, Special Adviser to the President Bola Tinubu on Health, has called for collaboration between the public and private sector to accelerate realisation of a resilient health system in the country.
Anas made the call at the Future of Health Conference 2023, held on Thursday in Lagos.
The forum, organised by the Nigeria Health Watch, had as its theme:” The Private Sector as a catalyst for a resilient health system”.
In a virtual keynote address, Salma described healthy life as a fundamental human rights for all Nigerians.
“We need a healthy population that is productive to be able to unlock the potential for positive growth and development, which will then lead to our collective and national prosperity.
“The health of Nigerians is a matter of national security that requires a resilient health system to ensure the provision and maintenance.
“The government is greatly investing in the health sector but there has to be an active involvement of the private sector to secure the coverage and sustainability for sensible national growth, development and progressive prosperity.”
According to her, the administration of Tinubu has prioritised engagement of stakeholders especially the private sector to achieve the desired goals for the health sector’s growth and development.
“With over 70 per cent private expenditure on health as share of the total health spending in the country, having strategic and meaningful partnerships and collaborations between the public and private sectors is key.
“This will help in unlocking the huge potential and improvement of the overall health sector in the country,” the special adviser said.
Salma said leveraging on the existing opportunities and possibilities of public-private partnerships, Nigeria would enhance substantial progress toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
She added that it would also advance healthcare delivery, improved access to health and ensure financial protection for a resilient health system for all Nigerians.
According to her, however, this will require crucial reforms to ensure the interests of both the public and private stakeholders are safeguarded.
She said that such reforms would establish clear roles and responsibilities with robust governance frameworks, as well as transparent and accountability mechanisms.
“However, achieving a resilient health system requires a multi-sectoral and multi-faceted approach where public and private sector collaborate and synergise to accelerate progress towards this goal.
“With this, Nigeria can have the right policy space that will enhance healthcare infrastructure, requisite manpower, deploy appropriate technologies, and guarantee pharmaceutical supplies with supportive logistics.
“Such policy will improve service delivery, mobilise additional resources and promote equitable access to quality healthcare for all its citizens.
“This is in line with the Renewed Hope mantra of this administration of inclusivity and partnership especially between the public and private sector for developmental growth that leads to national prosperity,” she said.
In her opening remarks, Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing
Director, Nigeria Health Watch, emphasised that quality healthcare was not a privilege but a fundamental right for every citizen.
According to her, Nigeria has a mixed health system that needs to be synchronised.
“The reality in Nigeria is that we have a mixed health system, patients navigate for healthcare
between the public and the private sector.
“This demands better strategic integration between
public and private providers.
“This year, our focus centering on ‘The Private Sector as a Catalyst for a Resilient Health
System’ as a theme resonates deeply with the complex dynamics of healthcare delivery in our country.
“We recognise the indispensable role of the private sector, not just as a provider of
services, but as a catalyst for transformative change.
“By leveraging the innovation and expertise
within the private sector, we need to strengthen our healthcare system, ensuring its resilience in
the face of challenges.”
Ihekweazu said it was expedient to accelerate
progress to improve health outcomes in the country as our statistics are moving in the wrong direction. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vivian Ihechu