Group visits Health Minister, calls for accountability, citizen participation in health policy designs

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Abuja, Nov. 12, 2023 – The Nigeria Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum, a coalition of civil societies and non-governmental organisations, has called for a reappraisal of the country’s health sector policy thrust to allow for inputs from civil societies and citizens.

The forum made the request during a meeting with Prof Muhammed Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, in Abuja on Friday.

The coalition said it was currently working on many major health development areas including Basic Healthcare Development Provision Fund (BHCPF) Accountability Framework.

It expressed optimism that the accountability framework would be very useful if deployed to support the emerging policy thrusts coming from the Hon. Coordinating Minister.

Dr. Gafar Alawode, the leader of the coalition, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) Health Financing Committee, called for re-examination of the health policy thrusts to determine where civil societies could make additional recommendations in terms of position paper.

 Alawode said the coalition would like to have access to the details of the emerging policy thrust so that necessary recommendations could be made toward effective implementation.

He said the coalition appreciated the fact that health had become an integral part of development and the relevance of the CSOs had been identified beyond the federal level.

The group also expressed willingness to take up the subject of accountability and transparency from the current status and sought the support of the minister on this.

It also noted the importance of a multi-sectoral approach and strategic collaboration and partnership which cannot be overemphasized if any meaningful progress is to be made.

The group further noted the need to mobilise the citizens and CSOs at all levels to review the new strategies and come up with a position paper which will be presented to the ministry.

Alawode thanked the minister for the giant strides being made in the health sector, particularly with regard to the policy thrusts.

In his response, the minister said that the policy direction of the current administration and the ministry was based on four cardinal areas of effective governance, efficient, equitable and quality health systems, unlocking the value chain, promoting clinical research and development as well as health security.

He said that these focal areas were informed by engagements and interactions with a wide range of stakeholders, including the citizens who participated in key informant interviews as well as current health outcomes.

Pate said the focus of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was also to strategically mobilise available resources toward getting more results, particularly at the point of service delivery.

The consultative meeting with the minister was attended by the veteran health journalist, Chief (Mrs.) Moji Makanjuola.

 It will be recalled that the minister had set up a committee to develop the Basic Healthcare Provision Programme (BHCPP) to incorporate the redesign of the Basic healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).

Further to this, the committee had met with a coalition of CSOs/NGOs to discuss key elements of the redesigned BHCPF and key features of the BHCPP.

The meeting was part of the consultative process supporting the rollout of the BHCPP. (GBN)

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