Osinbajo Okays Draft Legislative Instrument To Enact Health Sector Reform Bill

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has approved the presentation of a Draft Legislative Instrument to enact the Health Sector Reform Bill, to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.

The approval was given at the 2nd meeting of the National Council on Privatization chaired by the Vice President at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday.

When adopted, the reforms will ensure that millions of Nigerians who are presently unable to afford efficient health care services, can now have access.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a lot of the wrongs in Nigeria’s health sector and these reforms seek to right those wrongs.

Other members of the NCP include several federal ministers and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Nurses Seek More Funding To Address Health Sector Challenges


Nurses and midwives at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, the Edo State capital have called on the government at all levels to pay the necessary attention to the health sector needs in Nigeria.

The medical practitioners made the appeal on Tuesday when they commenced a three-day sensitisation walk to mark the beginning of the year 2020, which has been tagged as the Year Of The Nurse by the World Health Organisation.

According to the WHO, the year 2020 is significant in the context of nursing and midwifery strengthening, for universal health coverage.

The nurses also decried the increasing rate of migration of Nigerian medical personnel to other countries where, according to them, there are better opportunities for quality health care practice.

The head, nursing at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Mrs Doris Asama, joined her colleagues in the call for adequate funding of the health sector in the country in order to check the growing cases of medical brain drain from Nigeria to other developed countries.

“As I speak to you, many nurses are leaving Nigeria for greener pastures abroad. More than ever before, manpower is needed, funding and good working environment is required in order to attempt changing the status quo” she said.

Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, UBTH chapter, Mr Augustine Osigbeme, expressed gratitude to the W.H.O for setting the whole of the year 2020 aside for the nurses.

He noted with optimism that the celebrations and actions that would take place during the year-long celebration will bring about the desired positive impact and attention to health care delivery in Nigeria.

“It’s indeed a welcome development for us nurses and midwives, as you know rightly, the country’s population is on the increase, hunger and poverty are also rife, therefore, more people are falling sick and in need of medical services…all these burdens are in the end placed on nurses,” Osigbeme said.

Edo Govt Earmarks N100m To Develop Health Sector

File Photo. A hospital ward.


The Edo State Government has earmarked a total of N100 million as counterpart fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), to provide responsive, efficient and accessible health care through Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs).

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, disclosed this at a workshop on Health Workforce Registry, held in the state on Tuesday.

Osifo said the contribution is to enable the state benefit fully from the BHCPF of the Federal Government.

He further explained that the Edo State House of Assembly has passed the Health Insurance Bill into law, a development which he says will pave the way for the smooth running of the fund, even as other provisions for the take-off of the state insurance scheme take shape.

The BHCPF is the fundamental funding provision under the National Health Act, signed in 2014.

States are expected to benefit from the fund when they meet the requisite criteria, which includes contributing the counterpart fund.

“To ensure sustainability and ownership of the BHCPF, the states are expected to co-fund the BHCPF, beginning with an initial N100 million as part-expression of interest to implement the BHCPF,” he said.

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The states are also required to create state Health Insurance Agencies and state Primary Health Care Development Boards to serve as channels through which implementation would be monitored.

Governor Godwin Obaseki had recently inaugurated a 17-member Primary Health Care Board in the state to deepen the revamp of the state’s primary health care system.

He charged members of the board to support the vision of his administration in delivering quality and affordable health care to the people.

NMA Seeks Improved Budgeting For Health Sector

Health, NMA, Nigerian Medical Association


The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for improved budgeting of the health sector.

NMA President, Francis Fajuyile made this appeal during a conference over the weekend in Osogbo the Osun state capital.

He said that government is giving less attention to healthcare and added that the introduction of Universal Health Coverage is needed to improve healthcare delivery of the country.

“We have a myriad of problems affecting us as medical practitioners, the first one is about funding. We need the government to fund health more appropriately and the funding has a lot to do with the equipment that we need to have in the hospitals,” he said.

Fajuyile also decried the poor state of most hospitals in the country and urged the governments at all levels to see to its improvement.

“We need to have a good working environment for the doctors and the patients to be seen and be treated properly.

“It is in this funding that you can employ the adequate number of personnel. Migration of doctors has been fingered that funding of health is one of the major reason why many of our people are leaving the shores of this country.”

On the issue of fake medical practitioners across the country, the NMA President wants security operatives to collaborate with the association to expose culprits.

According to him, quackery is one of the bane of appropriate treatment in this country and should be addressed immediately.

The NMA President believes that fake doctors are not being properly persecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

He, therefore, wants the association to assist the police in tackling the menace of quacks.

In doing this, Fajuyile said, Nigerians would get the best treatment by skilled workers.

Medical Practitioners Identify Migration As Key Problem For Health Sector


Medical practitioners have identified migration as one of the key setbacks for the nation’s health sector.

According to them, the increased rate of migration of doctors from Nigeria to other countries and the dwindling intake into residency programmes are issues that need to be addressed in order to give the nation’s health system a boost.

This was one of the key issues raised at the 13th Annual Scientific Conference Of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria which held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

The Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, also lamented that Nigeria is losing a huge amount of foreign exchange annually of about one billion dollars as a result of Nigerians seeking medical attention abroad.

This According to him was not as a result of lack of equipment or lack of medical experts rather, it was due to the lack of proper housekeeping and environmental care, the attitude of staff to patient rights, strike actions, absenteeism, distractions, among others.

He, however, said that the Federal Government will continue to offer support to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery.

The Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha, the Obi of Onitsha Nnaemeka Achebe, as well as senior medical practitioners around the country were also present at the event.

See photos below.

Gowon Praises FG’s Efforts In Eradicating Guinea Worm

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon


Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retired), has praised the Federal Government for efforts made in eradicating guinea worm in the country.

Gowon stated this on Thursday during an Annual Delegates Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“Nigeria has fully eradicated guinea worm. Thanks to The Character Center (TCC), the Federal, State and Local Governments and all other partners that play one role or the other in achieving this feat,” he said.

Gowon is optimistic that government at all levels would also win the war against malaria and river blindness affecting most Nigerians.

According to the former leader, the quality healthcare delivery system is a vital tool in a nation’s development.

While calling on everyone to support the government in the quest to developing the nation’s healthcare system, he called on the Federal Government in ensuring that the task is achieved.

He added, “Quality healthcare delivery is an indispensable component of the development of any nation. This should be used to access the performance of government at all levels. We should all agree to this.

“I call on the authorities at various levels to devise innovative and creative home-grown modalities of using what we have to achieve our goals.”

Gowon advocated Public-Private Partnership in fixing the problems facing the nation’s health system.

Medical Experts Urge FG To Increase Allocation To Health Sector

A health official checks the blood pressure of a beneficiary of a free medical outreach in Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency


Some Medical Experts and residents Of Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency in Osun State have called on the Federal Government to focus more on the state of the health sector in Nigeria.

They made the call at the start of a free medical outreach in Obokun Local Government Area of the state. The outreach was organised by the lawmaker representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, Oluwole Oke.

The free medical outreach is intended to cater for basic health issues such as malaria, with medical experts also checking participants for their blood pressure and ailments such as diabetes. Major cases are referred to teaching hospitals.

The National Coordinator of the Health for all Fair, Dr Alubankudi Olamide, said the need to meet the health challenges of the people bearing in mind the present economic crunch in the nation gave birth to the free medical treatment.

According to her, it is saddening that most public health hospitals are not well equipped to attend to the needs of the citizens even as she called on the federal and state governments to devote a large of the allocation to the health sector.

Residents wait to be examined during the outreach

The National Vice coordinator of the programme, Dr Olusegun Daramola, advised the residents to carryout periodic checks at primary health care centres to know their status in order to get help for any health challenge that might be diagnosed of early.

He called on the wealthy in the society to emulate the lawmaker and see free health care for the less privileged as a way of giving back to the society.
Some of the beneficiaries said the free medical outreach is an eyeopener that early detection of any ailment saves lives.

The programme is expected to last for a week to allow for many indigenes benefit from it.

Buhari Vows To Stop Brain Drain In Health Sector

Nigeria Has No Option Than To Fight Climate Change – Buhari
File photo

President Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged to increase investment in the health sector so that the country can halt the loss of well-trained professionals to other lands.

The President made this known when he received the executive members of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at State House, Abuja on Thursday.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President appreciated the concern expressed by the association on the state of the health sector in the country, noting: “We will do our best to work on your recommendations, and increase investment in the health sector.”

The President of MDCAN, Prof. Ngim E. Ngim, said the association consists of trainers, researchers, leaders and major stakeholders in health care, who are concerned about the well-being of the sector.

He appealed for action on the resolution of inter-professional rivalry in health care in the country, noting that a panel had been convened in 2014 to consider the issues, headed by Yayale Ahmed, “but no White Paper has been issued till date.”

Among other requests brought before the President by MDCAN were better health financing, reconstitution of the Governing Board of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, need for a single term of five years for Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of tertiary hospitals, and the establishment of medical universities in each geo-political zone of the country.

The association also hoped that the constitution of a Minimum Wage Committee by the Federal Government would help curb brain drain if medical professionals were better remunerated.


Health Workers Union, JOHESU Suspends Nationwide Strike

The Joint Health Sector Union has suspended its industrial action in principle.

The suspension follows a conciliation meeting between its leadership and representatives of the Federal Government in Abuja on Saturday.

Consequently, the union has asked its members across the country to resume work on Wednesday next week after a meeting of its executive members to ratify the decision on Tuesday.

Health workers under the union had started an industrial action on September 21, a day after it declared the strike.

They went on strike one week after the Federal Government resolved the dispute with resident doctors.

The union had demanded the revamp of infrastructure in the tertiary health institutions; report of the inter-ministerial sub-committee on critical matters in the health sector; professional autonomy; among others.

Saturday’s meeting between the leadership of the union and representatives of the Federal Government was the second reconciliatory meeting between both sides.

The first meeting between both sides earlier in the week had ended in a deadlock with both sides disagreeing on the legality of the strike.

At the meeting which was chaired by the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and Health Minister, Issac Adewole, Ngige accused the health workers of failing to abide by the country’s labour laws.

But the union insisted that no labour law had been violated by their action.

Both ministers were absent at Saturday’s meeting and were represented by the Minister of State for Labour and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

The Joint Health Sector Workers Union is made up of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, among others.

2017 Budget: House Decries Low Allocation To Health Sector

House of Representatives, Health, 2017 budgetThe House of Representatives has faulted the allocation of 304 billion naira to the health sector in the 2017 budget.

The Chairman of House Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor, expressed his disapproval for the allocation on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The lawmaker was speaking at a meeting of lawmakers, health workers and representatives of donor agencies, where they discussed how to ensure the speedy revitalisation of primary healthcare centres across Nigeria.

Representative Okafor said that the funds allocated to the Ministry of Health would not in any way address the needs in the sector.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s revitalisation programme of about 1,000 primary healthcare centres as one of the needs in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, and the Deputy Director of Family Health Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ovuoraye John, commended the revitalisation programme.

They stated that the programme would address the challenges of manpower and equipment faced by the centres.

The experts, however, said that the programme must be backed by support from both the Federal Government and international agencies.

Other participants noted that although there was 80% improvement in terms of capital expenditure of the 2017 budget compared to that of 2016, the proposed health budget was cumulatively lower than that of 2016 due to naira devaluation.

Imo Residents Appeal For Improved Primary Health Care

HealthResidents of Imo state are calling on the government to intervene in the improvement of Primary health care systems in the state.

Channels Television visited Avu community in Owerri west local government area of the state, where it was observed that there was only one primary healthcare centre, which caters for a population of over 5,000 people in the vicinity.

The entire environment seemed to be plagued by lack of basic amenities and infrastructural decay, leaving residents with no other choice than to nurse their illnesses at home or resort to private clinics.

A patient who came to the community clinic for treatment , urged the government to provide the necessary amenities for the growth of the primary health care system.

One of the staff in the health center also enumerated some of the challenges they face in delivering quality health care to the people.

Poor Funding

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), believes that the poor primary healthcare services in Nigeria, has been as a result of inadequate funding of the health sector.

On the other hand, the Imo state government, in December 2016, organized a 2-day orientation workshop for the newly inaugurated board of the Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The board was set up by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, whose objective was to orientate the new technical team on steps towards full implementation of the Primary Health Care Under One Roof policy, by the federal government.

By so doing, they also plan correct all the wrongs associated with the sector in the state.

With the inauguration of the new board, there are hopes that the health care systems in the state would be revived as soon as possible.


Resident Doctors Threaten To Commence Strike Action In 2017

Resident Doctors, FMC Owerri, StrikeThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has advised the Federal Government to urgently wade into the lingering crises in the health sector to the avert impending strike by doctors.

NARD issued a three-week strike notice that would lapse on January 2, 2017.

The Public Relations Officer, NARD, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa branch, Dr. Ugoeze Asinobi, said that the doctors had shelved the planned strike three times in the past four months and are bent on going on strike as from January 2.

The doctors are agitating for a uniform template for the Residency Programme, infrastructure for tertiary health facilities, proper grading of doctors and payment of outstanding salaries, among other issues.

According to Asinobi: “We don’t want strike, but we are going to resort to it again.

“The Residency Programme is fundamental to effective health care, given the dearth of manpower as the country has less than 20 per cent of required experts.

“Each time the ultimatum expires, we shift it in the hope that things would be made right within the time given, but it is now obvious the Ministry officials are insincere.

“The issues we go on strike for are always the same issues and we are resolute to withdraw services come January 2, 2017, if our concerns are not addressed.

“One wonders if health ministry officials are sabotaging the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari on purpose, as their brazen and blatant disregard to the most basic institutional needs of the major workhorses of the health sector leaves a lot to be desired.

“Their attitude leaves one bewildered as sabotage appears to be the only logical explanation,” he stated.

Furthermore, he alleged that officials of Federal Ministry of Health are playing politics with the lives of Nigerians as they are insensitive and disconnected from the realities the masses were facing in their daily lives.

“NARD frowns at the wastage in building new primary health centres, rather than rehabilitating, equipping and staffing existing ones with requisite manpower”.

“Resident doctors have always embraced dialogue and discussions in finding lasting solutions, but it is obvious that our commitment to peace and industrial harmony is yet to be reciprocated”.

The P.R.O then appealed to the federal government to wade into the industrial dispute for the overall interest of the welfare of the citizenry.

According to him, executives of NARD remain committed to ending the myriad of incursions adversely affecting the welfare of resident doctors.