Participants at the Society For Family Health (SFH) Retreat in Lagos said there was a need to improve health outcomes in the country to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets.
According to them, these include the need to improve the country’s Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and create a more sustainable healthcare financing system.
The Retreat had its theme as “Beginning with the End in Mind”.
The retreat marks the commencement of the 40th Anniversary and 2023 Leadership Retreat of SFH.
Dr. Oyebanji Filani, Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ekiti, spoke on issues around Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), National Health Act (NHAct) and National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in closing the social contract gap and improving outcome in sub-national level.
Filani, Chairperson, Health Commissioners Forum, Nigeria, said that commissioners of health in the country resolved that states should put in place relevant institutions to support and drive reforms around healthcare services.
Dr Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank Group, emphasised that regardless of policy and government instruments, public financing was key to realising the goals of NHIA Act and UHC.
One of his recommendations was for the future of health financing in Nigeria to be output-based financing budget.
He urged SFH to help through technical assistance, domestic resource mobilisation, among others.
Dr Ebere Anyachukwu, Senior Health Specialist, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recommended some shifts to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
Some of the suggestions included country focused political priorities, in-country coordination approach, pragmatic delivery approach that is scalable.
Others are capacity building alongside developing and strengthening local networks, domestic financing mobilisation, private and government partnership supported service delivery among others.
Explaining UHC, he said: “It means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need as well as when and where they need them”.
Dr Murphy Akpu, Deputy Coordinator, PEPFAR Nigeria, also made a presentation.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, urged Lagos residents to enroll in the state’s health insurance scheme “Ilera Eko” to enjoy quality and affordable healthcare delivery.
Abayomi was represented by Dr Olamide Okulaja, Health Economist and Technical Adviser to the Commissioner.
Okulaja, who spoke on UHC, said the state initiated Ilera Eko in a bid to ensure that all residents in the state, irrespective of their status, got access to healthcare services.
“Part of the aims of the blueprint is health facilities upgrade, outsource some Primary Health Centres to private sector and improve patronage for health insurance.
“The best approach towards implementing a sustainable healthcare system is by building all encompassing facilities for all, for the benefit of both the rich and the poor in the society,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Prof. Ekanem Braide, the President of SFH Board, reiterated the board’s resolution to keep the Foundation’s vision alive.
“This retreat, therefore, is to pause, learn, unlearn and reignite our collective purpose to finish the job we have started working with our partners.
“We have structured the agenda with activities ranging from lessons learnt in health policy and governance private sector-led advocacy, expanded regional reform, to truly reposition us for our aspiration of achieving Health for All,” she said.
Dr Omokhudu Idogho, the Managing Director of SFH, in his welcome address, evaluated the impact of SFH since inception.
“Our internal metrics suggest that as an organisation, we have contributed to a quarter of Nigeria’s Couple-Years of Protection (CYP) progress.
“A third of ITN distributed in Nigeria about 60 million reaching 25 million households.
“Provided health services to more than three million children, averted close to 180,000 HIV infections and generated more than 10.2 million DALYS in the last 40 years.
“This contribution has seen population level impact with maternal mortality down from 1,000 to 512/100,000 live births and infant mortality coming down from 132 to 54 per 1,000 live births.
“The next strategy calls us to leverage our 40 years experience to rewrite the construct of Africa health system, with a clear focus on stronger partnerships, forward thinking science and an untiring commitment to transform health outcomes for all,” Idogho said.