Nigeria to explore alternative sources in healthcare delivery

Cyril Okonkwo,Abuja

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The Nigerian government says it will explore alternative sources as part of its commitment to find lasting solutions to the challenges of healthcare delivery and funding in the country.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), an international public-private partnership committed to increasing access to immunization at the Presidential Villa.

He said government was considering several options, including working on some of the recommendations by the alliance, to improve Nigeria’s healthcare system.

He said: “the funding of our health care system especially for a country this size cannot depend on the budgetary allocation alone. There is clearly a need to look at alternative sources of funding, and clearly international donor funding cannot bridge that gap when you look at what is required for Nigeria.”

The vice president government was not unaware of the enormity of the problems in the healthcare sector and would work with partners and agencies like the GAVI alliance to solve them to reverse some of the very depressing statistics about the healthcare system.

He said: “Given some of the demographic details that we expect to see in next 10 to 15 years, I think there is certainly need for a much permanent way of funding the health system, that is why we are working on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and see what we can get from that.

“I think you can certainly rely on the commitment of the Federal Government and Mr President to this particular issue, we are looking at all the various options and we hope that we will be able to work with some of the recommendations made by the Minister of Health.”

Special Economic Council session

Professor Osinbajo stated that a special session of the National Economic Council would be called where some of the information and statistics would be shared. 

He said that government was also working in partnership with state governments under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC) to encourage the adoption of best practices endorsed by the Federal Government.

Earlier in his remarks, the CEO of GAVI and leader of the delegation, Mr Seth Berkley, called for increased funding for immunization activities and the general healthcare system in the country.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole had earlier said that the Ministry was holding talks with the visiting GAVI delegation to Nigeria on the country and GAVI could collaborate in matters of healthcare in Nigeria.

The GAVI delegation comprised representatives from the World Bank, DFID, and other organizations.

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