The Federal Government yesterday said it would set up cancer care centres in its tertiary institutions to reverse the rising trend of medical tourism.
It is therefore seeking the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other development partners to actualise the plan.
Speaking when he received the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, called for the support of the WHO towards mobilising resources for revitalisation of primary healthcare towards attainment of universal healthcare coverage monitoring and evaluation, including routine surveillance; technical support for national public health observatory; mobilise resources for the Regional Centre for Disease Control, and to utilise Nigerian manpower in any WHO assignment in Africa.
His words: “Nigeria’s health system is beset with several challenges and suboptimal health outcomes and characterised by a burden of disease driven by infectious and parasitic diseases. Health sector outcome shows mixed performance. Nigeria has made limited progress in service delivery in the last decades.”
The minister, who identified health as one of the key promises of the current administration and also spoke of efforts towards operationalising the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, said that Nigeria was currently reviewing its strategic plans for health and hopes to soon launch a new National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) to cover 2016-2020.
He said focus would now be on results and outcome with increased accountability structures and focus on universal health coverage.
Moeti, who pledged support for Nigeria’s efforts towards revolutionalising primary healthcare, expressed optimism that Nigeria would make it to become polio free by July 24, 2017.
She noted: “It has been encouraging for me to learn about your strong focus on primary healthcare and universal health coverage. This is our number one primary priority in WHO. I wish to assure you of our firm support from WHO to make sure that you realise this ambitious agenda. I assure you of our firm support. I am extremely excited that we are on the same page with primary healthcare.
“We commend this initiative and will be listening to what you need from the WHO in terms of advocacy, in technical advice and support, in terms of sharing the experience of other countries which can support in doing this work. We believe so much in this and we will try to push with our health systems colleagues.”
She, therefore, congratulated Nigeria on leaving the list of polio endemic countries, expressing optimism that the structures built would be put to use in building a viable disease surveillance system for the nation.
The WHO chief added: “We are very conscious that the polio capacity and infrastructure in Nigeria is contributing well beyond the work of polio eradication.”
Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
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