Launch Of The Lancet Nigeria Commission: Investing In Health And The Future Of The Nation On 16/03/2022
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE LANCET NIGERIA COMMISSION: INVESTING IN HEALTH AND THE FUTURE OF THE NATION ON THE 16TH OF MARCH, 2022
I am delighted to be here on this occasion to launch this important report; The Lancet Nigeria Commission: Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation. This is an important report done by a group of Nigerian academics and health policy experts from our top universities and from the Nigerian diaspora.
The report is aptly described as a report by Nigerians for Nigerians. The report established in my view and did so indisputably, showing a linkage between health investment and the socio-economic development of our nation.
To this end, the report proposes a new social contract centred on health to address Nigeria’s need to define the relationship between the citizen and the state.
There is a further recommendation that prevention has to be at the heart of health policy, given Nigeria’s young population, requiring a whole-of-government approach and community engagement.
The whole notion of the “One Nation, One Health” policy to attain universal health coverage, which would particularly benefit those segments of the population bearing the highest disease burden.
An ambitious programme of healthcare reform to deliver a centrally determined, locally delivered health system, including providing health insurance coverage for 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premiums.
A health system that encourages innovation and engages communities, to ensure that existing nationally driven schemes have local buy-in and are sustainable, and reforming the policy and regulatory landscape to unleash the market potential of the private sector.
A whole system assessment of the investment needs in Nigeria’s health security, in which the pandemic has exposed those weaknesses. We can tell what those weaknesses are in order to redesign and rethink our health security needs.
And that Government should lead the development of standards for the digitisation of health records, better data collection, registration and quality assurance systems.
I believe that this objective of a new social compact is important if we are to meet the constitutional guarantees encapsulated in the right to life to our citizenry and the primary aspiration of the fundamental objectives of the Nigerian State which is the wellbeing of the Nigerian citizen.
The report captures what it is that must motivate the government to be more concerned about health policy and especially to place health policy at the centre of the social compact between the Nigerian citizen and the state.
I must say that this government has placed great emphasis on advancing the health of all Nigerians. We have put Primary Health Care at the heart of our reform effort, which ensures that basic health care service of high quality is delivered to Nigerians irrespective of where they live in the country. We believe that the health of all Nigerians matters and we have therefore focused interventions on the people living in the rural areas, women and the vulnerable populations.
There is no way we can say we have done enough or nearly enough; the challenges are there for us all to see, and the report underscores those challenges, and of course, puts those responsibilities where they ought to lie.
We welcome innovation and fresh thinking to further improve Nigeria’s health outcomes. This report provides a number of excellent recommendations some of which are already being implemented but many of which we will carefully consider.
The timing of publication of this important report and particularly apt because Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, has just inaugurated the Health Reform Committee, which he has asked me to chair and the committee will be benefiting from the input of the experts who authored this report.
The need to provide our people with Universal Health Coverage led to the enactment of the National Health Act, 2014. Based on this important legislation, this government and I believe future administrations are well placed to expand coverage and provide much-needed health care.
I want to thank our Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire and all health officials for all their work and commitment to advancing the health of Nigerians. We also heard the extremely commendable work that the task force on COVID-19 did which I think displayed our public health system in the best possible light, which also shows that we do have a robust public health system, it may need some tweaking here and there, but we are prepared for the challenges of the future.
The Federal Government will continue to promote the welfare of all in the health sector. We are also grateful to the commissioners who authored this report and to The Lancet who have provided their global platform to publish this report.
It is therefore my special privilege to formally launch The Lancet Nigeria Commission Report: Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation.
Thank you very much.