Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the Lancet Nigeria Commission report has opened a new social contract centered on health to define relationship between the citizens and the states.
Osinbajo spoke at the launch of the Lancet Nigeria Commission report on “Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation health needs” on Wednesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, according to the Commission, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, projected to become the world’s third largest in terms of population by 2050.
It also stated that its health outcomes are lagging behind, holding back progress and threatening the future of an otherwise dynamic nation.
The landmark Commission, written by a team of Nigerian experts working at institutions in the country and across the world, has developed recommendations to reposition future policy to achieve universal health coverage and better health for all Nigerians.
They presented analysis and evidence to support a positive and realistic future for Nigeria by addressing historically intractable policy implementation challenges with a new narrative.
NAN reports that they outlined a comprehensive and pragmatic roadmap to boost investment and make the best use of resources to ensure that a healthy Nigeria takes the world stage in the coming decades.
Osinbajo noted that the Federal government had placed great emphasis on advancing the health of all Nigerians, saying “to put Primary Health Cares (PHC) at the heart of a reform is a proof of its sincerity”.
He said that PHC ensures that basic health care services of a high quality is delivered to Nigerians irrespective of where they live or stay in the country.
He added that the federal government believes that the health of Nigerians does matter and would therefore focus interventions on Nigerians living in rural areas, women and the vulnerable populations.
“Of course, there was no way to say that we have done it all, for the challenges are the same everywhere and I think the report underscores those challenges but we welcome innovation and fresh thinking.
“The report provides a number of excellent recommendations, some of which are already being implemented, but many of which we’ll have to carefully consider.
“This report is important. I think it is. Particularly just when the president inaugurated the health reform committee, which he asked me to chair and the committee I believe will benefit Nigerians.
“I believe immensely in the input from these experts who authored the entire report itself,” he explained.
Osinbajo said the report further recommended that prevention had to be at the heart of health policy, given Nigeria’s young population and requiring a whole lot of government approach and community engagement.
He said that in order to redesign and rethink the Country’s health security needs, there is enough that the nation knows now.
“Governments should lead the development of standards for the digitization of health records, better data collection, registration and quality assurance systems.
Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, PSC on COVID-19, said that the Nigerian population is driven in a healthy economy.
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic had demonstrated what Nigeria can achieve with political backing and effective coordination.
“The impact of the COVID-19 on the economy has been significant. Several thousands of Nigerians lost their lives and their livelihoods.
“Yet, Nigeria has been relatively spared the devastating effects of the pandemic. We’ve been able to harness considerable resources building on our partnership with the State governments.
“And the private sector, and the donor community were there to contend with the pandemic using evidence-based public health measures,” he explained.
Mustapha said that as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, its growing population necessitates increase in its healthcare funding.
He, however, advised that the country must invest in its health and the future of its healthcare system, noting that to become more responsive to the needs of its citizens, the nation must invest in its healthcare system.
“Delivering the introduction and presentation of the Commission report, titled “Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation’”, according to Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, Dean Institute of Global Health, Population Health Sciences, a good health can be at the core of the rebirth of a patriotic national identity and sense of belonging: “One Nation, One Health”.
Abubakar called for a new social contract centred on health to address Nigeria’s need to define the relationship between the citizen and the state.
“Health is a unique political lever, which to date has been under-utilised as a mechanism to rally populations“ he stressed.
He noted that evidence had shown that healthcare is financed primarily by out-of-pocket expenditure penalizing the poorest in Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria is by far Africa’s largest economy, but wealth does not equal health, because Nigeria’s life expectancy at birth was just over 54 years, the fifth-lowest in the world.
Abubakar said that the country’s disease burden analysis showed a combination of a high burden of maternal and child conditions, a reduced but still significant burden of infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and a growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), posing a threat to the country’s rapidly-growing population.
“We aim to help reposition health policy in Nigeria to achieve health for all. Our vision is to provide recommendations to ensure the health and wealth of future generations of Nigerians,” he said.
NAN recalls that some of the report’s recommendation included that government should prioritize prevention, support the long-term health of Nigerians, and shift away from simply treating disease to creating health – especially among the country’s youth.
Other recommendations are for government to achieve UHC – An immediate goal for Nigeria is the provision of health insurance coverage for the 83 million Nigerians unable to pay premiums.
In Nigeria, 20 years of increased healthy life expectancy (1998–2019), mortality reduced for all age groups and Health expenditure per person rose, yet overall health outcomes remain poor. (NAN)
•PHOTO: Yemi Osinbajo(middle) and others at the launch of the Lancet Nigeria Commission