The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and stakeholders in the health sector have listed three key priority areas if the Nigerian government must improve health outcomes for citizens.
Marta Levitt, the Chief of Party, USAID Integrated Health Program on Tuesday urged the Bola Tinubu-led government to prioritise and invest in health insurance, family planning and nutrition to take the health sector to the desired levels where every citizen can easily access health care services at any time.
According to her, if government make these investments, they would have an immediate impact on the sector which is bedevilled with many challenges which include high out-of-pocket expenditures, and poor access to even basic healthcare services.
Speaking at a health seminar organised by Sydani Groupon Abuja she said, “With the new administration, the potentials are endless, we need to hit while the iron is hot, make sure health is at the foremost. Invest in financial risk protection schemes. Health insurance scheme for Universal Health Coverage. the most important thing is for the administration to invest in health insurance to ensure that citizens are fully covered, and make sure that the health insurance scheme is easily accessible. The second is family planning.
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Levitt explained that there is a growing demand for family planning services which is currently inadequate. She said investing in family planning services will help households and government save huge cost.
Finally, Levitt said investment in nutrition is important, but requires multi-sectoral response which will improve health outcome in the long run.
The theme of the seminar is” Implication of changes in government on public health policies and programs in Nigeria: Looking into the future, are we on the right track?” The seminar fostered networking and knowledge sharing among participants ,creating a platform for collaboration and partnership in advancing public health in Nigeria. It is also in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Group.
Also speaking, Sidney Sampson, Managing Partner/CEO Sydani Group to ensure adequate investments in data for effective and efficient decision making process and to guide poly formulation and implementation in the health sector.
He said the essence of the seminar is to gather stakeholders to discuss the implications and opportunities of the new government. According to him, “There are a lot of uncertainties in the space and we are here to navigate that. This is the best time to highlight the opportunities for a better health sector.”
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