By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos—President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that Nigeria loses over N400billion annually to medical tourism and urged stakeholders to join hands to find solution to it.
The president urged the course participants of the Senior Executive Course, SEC 41 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, to provide solutions to issues that could close the gaps in the institutional, legal and policy frameworks for funding universal healthcare delivery for the good of the country.
He also persuaded them to embark on researches that would examine the experiences of other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Americas in funding universal healthcare delivery and how lessons learnt can benefit the country.
He spoke during the inauguration of SEC 41 at the Institute’s premises in Kuru, Plateau where he reiterated his administration’s commitment to revitalizing the health sector to minimize the rate of medical tourism and inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases.
Represented by the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, Buhari, noted that he approved the theme of the study, ‘Funding Universal Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria’ out of his desire to tackle challenges of the health sector funding.
He informed that his government provided N55.1billion in 2018 for basic healthcare system in accordance with the National Health Act signed in 2014.
According to him “I am pleased to be at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru on the occasion of the inauguration of the Senior Executive Course 41, 2019 of the National Institute. When in 2018, I approved the theme of your study, Funding Universal Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria, the decision was borne out of the sincere desire of my administration to tackle the challenges of health sector funding in Nigeria.
“The essence of this programme is to ensure that quality basic healthcare services are delivered to the majority of Nigerians across the country irrespective of their locations.Early in 2018,Government provided N55.1billion, which is the 1 percent Consolidated Revenue Fund to cater for the Basic Healthcare Fund, provided for in the National Health Act.
“Government has shown strong commitment in the revitalization of the health sector. These efforts notwithstanding, our health sector is still characterized by low response to public health emergencies, inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.
“This has resulted in increasing medical tourism by Nigerians in which Nigeria loses over N400billion on annual basis.
Thus, I consider the theme for 2019 very apt, timely and important because the primary purpose of governance is to ensure the security and well-being of the citizens including health security.”
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, delivered the inaugural lecture on Health while Plateau State Chief Judge, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, administered the oath of office to the 66 Course participants.