By Ndidi Chukwu
A past permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Professor Shima Gyoh and the current President of Society for Family Health has called on Nigeria’s president to appoint a selfless personality as the new Minister of Health.
He told Health Reporters weeks ago while participating in the Future of Health Conference that the challenge in the sector can only be solved by a minister who is willing to do things right.
“If we are thinking of a minister of health, the person must be a selfless personality and should be conversant with the health sector, the person should also have a good delegation because not one person can do the work in the sector, it should be a person who can set up organs beyond the life and interest of one person”
He also emphasized on the need for public enlightenment, for the Nigerian masses to demand for their rights and hold government accountable for their health “to start with, we need public enlightenment, the ministries of health both the federal state and local government have to pay attention to public enlightenment, we depend on the media to do so and if the public are enlightened they will demand for their rights because health is one of the human rights that everybody should have and if people don’t stand up for their health rights things will not change, what I have learnt from the future of health conference is that the World Bank at last has said that user fees charged to poor people is depriving them of their human rights. It says no country should charge user fees to the poor. I think this is fantastic and I’m going to keep singing it until those who are guilty of this will stop, and it is the government that must stop this by enlightening the people”
He said the Future of Health Conference is good and has given the direction health should take, and the attention it should get from the government, and what the government is going to do in the health sector, “we hope that the outcome of the conference will provide good ideas and we just hope that they will pay attention to what we are saying”
For health services in Nigeria, he said Nigeria ought to have better and proper regulation, and inspection, for health activities “we don’t inspect, we don’t supervise, we need to get this right for us to know what we are doing and track results of our actions”