By Asma’u Ahmad
Stakeholders in the health sector have urged all the three tiers of government to take ownership of the sector to ensure Nigerians enjoy value for their money. The stakeholders also want Nigerians to have access to affordable, quality and efficient healthcare delivery services.
A member of the implementation committee of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Strategic Plan 2017-2022, Dr. Ben Anyene, said this at the presentation of the plan on Tuesday in Abuja. The plan has “From words to action: NMA Walking the talk” as its theme with partners.
Dr. Anyene, who is also the Chairman Health System Consult, noted that taking ownership of the health sector entails government at all levels financing all aspects of the health system rather than relying on donor agencies.
He described the nation’s health system as a shame due to the idea of sourcing its finance from the international community.
According to him, the failure of the government necessitated this strategic plan, noting that its implementation will go a long way in addressing the challenges currently bedeviling the sector.
“A healthcare delivery that is been financed by the international community is not owned by the government. For example immunisation, if you take international finance from immunisation it will definitely collapsed, we do not want it that way anymore.
“We hope that at the end the country will be happier because all the actions and programmes and interventions that will come out from this will work toward integrity of the system, accountability, sustainability of the system and ownership of the system by all of us,” Anyene said.
He advised the government against viewing this plan as a coup by the NMA against health ministries but rather collaborative efforts to rid the nation out of its present shame, among others. According to him, there will not have been this plan if all is well in the sector.
“Those who are supposed to own the sector failed hence this partnership and we all are stakeholders in the sector; we consume health, produce health and nobody would want to consume something that is toxic because it will kill you.
“Doctors by their training and skills have the skills and competencies to transform the system but due to Nigerian factors they were unable. With this plan they are willing and ready to apply those competencies in helping the nation’s health challenges together with other stakeholders,” Anyene said.
Similarly, Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Services, Muhammed Usman decried the poor state of the health sector. Usman expressed displeasure over the failure of the government to implement the National Health Act years after such declaration.
However, he assured the NMA and other partners of the of legislative support at ensuring the success of the plan as well as supporting every act geared toward repositioning the sector to the betterment of all Nigerians.
On his part, National Convener for Women Advocate for Vaccines Access (WAVA), Dr. Chizoba Wonodi lauded the effort of NMA in taking the lead in ensuring quality healthcare delivery.
Dr. Wonodi however urged the general public to take doctors as partners rather than having negative notion against them.