February 7, 2023

Experts harp on public-private collaboration for improved healthcare

By  Chioma Obinna

Private health practitioners weekend in Lagos said leveraging partnership between the private and public health sectors will help  save over 200 million Nigerians and build a futuristic healthcare system.

This came just as the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria would liaise with doctors acquiring more skills and cutting-edge technology abroad to tackle the dearth of skilled medical personnel in the country.

In their submissions during the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, HFN, 2023 Annual Conference and General Meeting held in Lagos with the theme:  “Building the Healthcare of Our Future”, they said Nigerians should stop dwelling on problems but creating solutions that would bring about a better health system for the country.

In his submission, the Minister of Health while responding to questions on Fiscal policy would support both the public and private health sectors including those in the manufacturing sector amongst others.

“There is a need for the private sector to clean their house and help to help to police the laws. Once there is a law stay with it.  I get a lot of requests for waivers and a lot of them are fakes they tried to defeat the system and when you refuse them, they say the minister is bad. If we want to make the system work, we must work well and join in making rules and follow it and not corner rules and defeat them.”

In her submission, the President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi said HFN was committed to creating solutions to the main problems facing the nation’s healthcare sector.  

Ajayi said the conference was designed to address issues around fiscal policies and its issues, training and retraining of personnel, brain drain and way out, healthcare financing and investments, and investing in people.

Other issues she highlighted include; health insurance and the new National Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, Act, the human resources crisis, solutions that work for Nigeria, solutions from people in the diaspora, and utilising technology. 

“It is difficult to stop people from leaving, but how can we get more people to return? If they cannot return physically, can we get their brain power back here?”

To address issues around brain drain, the HFN president stressed the need to leverage technology systems and structures.

“We have a lot on our table but this is just the beginning.  It is a building block.  We are trying to build the healthcare we want to see in our future”.

“We will be happy to work with them in transition and throughout that is what we are here for and we know that the private sector has a lot to offer.

 “We want to urge whichever government comes in to recognise the private sector and work with them to build the healthcare system that all Nigerians will be proud of.”

In his submission, Dr Ibrahim Wada, CEO, Nissa Hospital,  stressed that the world expects practitioners in the private and public sectors to take care of the health of over 200 million Nigerians.

Wada said there was a need for collaboration. “The country needs the private sector. 

The government actually needs you and it is about rolling up your sleeves.  There is still so much and ease of doing business is a process and it is key.”

“We want policies that cannot be distorted at the level of customs agency so that the citizens will be able to access care and there is no delay or overpricing of services.”