21 August 2017

Nigeria: #healthdialogue - Osinbajo, Emir Sanusi, Other Stakeholders to Discuss Critical Issues Affecting Nigeria's Health Sector

Photo: Ahmed Mohammed/Daily Nation
(file photo).

A National Health Dialogue will hold between Thursday and Friday in Abuja, organisers have announced.

The dialogue is organised by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, PTCIJ, the Project for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, PACFaH, and the Project Pink Blue.

In a statement on Monday, organisers said the two-day health dialogue would be chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and hosted by the Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole, at the Musa Shehu Yar'Adua Centre, Central Business District, Abuja at 9 a.m. daily.

The Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammadu Sanusi II, will deliver the key address at the programme.

"The National Health Dialogue is a platform that will bring together stakeholders in the Health and Development sectors to discuss the Challenges and Prospects of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria," the organisers said.

"Since the enactment of the National Health Act in 2014, there have been several efforts targeted at providing quality and affordable health care for Nigerians in line with the goals of Universal Health Coverage. However, these goals are yet to be achieved.

"The Dialogue will recommend actionable strategies for sustainable health care financing. The Discussion will create a stronger awareness of the barriers to actualizing Universal Health Coverage; illustrate key lessons from the PACFaH project's advocacy for health policy change; and map out an advocacy action plan towards realizing a comprehensive UHC."

The organisers also indicated that cancer, and Nigeria's preparedness for its treatment would be one of the one topics to be discussed.

"Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths per annum in Nigeria. This number is set to increase, given that there are 102,000 new cases of the disease every year. For a country of over 170 million people, only two radiotherapy machines (cancer treatment machines) are working.

"This shows the urgency of the need to fix medical infrastructures in Nigeria, to save lives and the economy. Because of the health infrastructure deficit, Nigeria is losing millions of dollars and its national reputation to medical tourism.

"For instance, in 2013 alone, India granted medical visas to 40,000 Nigerian patients and medical dependents. It is critical therefore to strengthen Nigeria's healthcare towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage."

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