Dangote to support FG’s health sector investment plan
By: Femi Mustapha
Development partners Africa’s top philanthropist, Aliko Dangote, has pledged his support to the Federal Government’s National Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative (NHSRII) launched at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday as part of events to mark Universal Health Coverage Day.
Speaking at the multi-stakeholder Health Sector Renewal Compact event, the Managing Director of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, reiterated the foundation’s continued support for human capital development in Nigeria and expressed the Foundation’s support for the new Initiative.
Mrs. Youssoufou said: “I would like to reiterate the absolute commitment of the Aliko Dangote Foundation to improving health outcomes in our beloved Nigeria. As a Nigerian organization, this is our home.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for prioritizing health and increasing funding for health. I would encourage the States to do the same and to release their funding in a timely fashion.
“This new sector-wide approach is an opportunity to focus on key issues and hold us all accountable to our commitments.”
In his speech, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu urged all Nigerians to support his administration’s drive towards Universal Health Coverage through the newly launched National Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative. On the Government’s part, his administration had increased the budget for the health sector in the 2024 appropriation bill among other initiatives to prioritize health under the Renewed Hope Health Sector Blueprint.
In his remarks, visiting Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, lauded the initiative as a major boost to Nigeria’s health sector reforms, adding that its success is predicated on the support garnered from state governments, development partners, and civil society.
On his part, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Muhammad Pate, said development partners like the Aliko Dangote Foundation are key to the success of the new health reform plan.
The Minister said the initiative would leverage the existing Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), in partnership with state governments and development partners for better coordination to achieve the desired improvement in health for all Nigerians.
The initiative includes plans to retrain up to 120,000 frontline health workers, expand health insurance coverage, double the number of fully functional Primary HealthCare Centres receiving Decentralized Facility Financing for infrastructure upgrade from 8,800 to 17,600 by 2027, establish a joint coordination & monitoring mechanism in alignment with the National Health Act’s objectives, and more.
“The quest to achieve UHC and better health for all Nigerians requires a multi-sector and whole-of-government approach.
“Further to this, the Nigerian Government has articulated NHSRII to advance the nation’s journey towards UHC. The Initiative comprises the Basic Healthcare Provision SWAP and the Nigerian Healthcare Industrialization Programme,” he said.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar commended the Federal Government for the initiative.
Towards actualizing the success of the initiative, a compact was signed in Abuja by the Federal Government, all 36 State Governments, and key development partners, marking a crucial stride in the pursuit of universal health coverage in Nigeria.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day is observed on December 12 every year to highlight progress towards a healthcare system that provides equitable and quality healthcare along with financial protection to everyone who needs it near the area where they live.
The United Nations designated this day to mark the anniversary of the unanimous endorsement of UHC in 2012 as an essential priority for international development with the theme this year being “Health for All: Time for Action.”