President Bola Tinubu has directed the Minister of Health, Ali Pate, to de-emphasise speaking about the health sector’s challenges and rather engage with development partners to birth new reforms that would improve the health and well-being of Nigerians.
Tinubu bared his mind when he had an audience with the minister at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, specifically directing Pate to pursue a very ambitious sector-wide programme that would improve population health outcomes, using the basic healthcare provision fund as a basis for reviving the primary health care system.
Tinubu also told Pate to explore ways of enhancing seamless working relationships between state governments, community leaders, and traditional leaders to ensure that Nigerians get better quality services to deal with the issues that bother them, whether it’s malaria, immunisation, maternal and child health, or reproductive health, among others.
Pate, who met with the President in the company of Prof Seniat Fisseha, a development partner under the auspices of the Susan-Buff Foundation, assured that going forward, plans are underway to design a social action fund to reach communities.
He said they would work to get the trust of the community dwellers, through which they would be empowered and supported to solve issues that are very simple but afflicting many of the people at the grassroots level.
“While having an audience with the President, we discussed some important issues regarding Nigerians’ health and social well-being. As we all know, the President is very committed and has directed that we do all we can to improve the health and well-being of all Nigerians as part of his renewed hope agenda.
”Accordingly, in recent days, he has approved three important steps for us to move forward and has asked us to talk less and do more. And in that spirit, he, in fact, has asked us to pursue a very ambitious sector-wide programme to improve population health outcomes, using the basic healthcare provision fund as a basis for reviving our primary healthcare system, working with state governments and community leaders, traditional leaders to ensure that Nigerians get better quality services to deal with the issues that bother them, whether it’s malaria, whether it’s immunisation, maternal and child health, reproductive health—those are elements that have a direct bearing on the health and well-being of Nigerians, with the state governments and with our development partners.
“So that sector-wide programme is underway, and our visitor today is committed to working with us to work with countries systems, not set up parallel systems. And we’re very glad that the Susan-Buffett Foundation is willing to partner with the Government of Nigeria to advance the health and well-being of all, especially our adolescent girls and women.
“The second item is to unlock the value chain in the healthcare space. Mr President has also approved a presidential initiative to unlock the healthcare value chain that will help drive the medical industrialisation agenda with clear targets.
“It will require the public and private sectors to work hand in hand. Government does what it needs to do to provide the enabling environment and the private sector getting his act together to ensure that we produce the things critical for Nigeria’s health and well-being while creating economic value and creating jobs,” Pate told State House correspondents.