National Health Dialogue: Five things you should expect from 2022 edition

All is set for the 2022 edition of the annual National Health Dialogue organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) in collaboration with PREMIUM TIMES.

The event scheduled to hold on 22 NOV, will bring together stakeholders to discuss and share experiences on key issues in the primary healthcare subsector, such as financing, and human resources for health and insurance.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehinare, Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, are among other key stakeholders expected to grace the high- level event.

Health practitioners, religious and traditional leaders, civil society organisations, and media are also expected at the event.

A statement by the organiser, signed by CJID Programme Officer, Adebowale Adedigba, noted that the theme for this year’s edition is: “Primary Health Care Financing; Role of State and Non-state Actors”. It is scheduled to hold in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mr Adedigba noted that the one-day dialogue will yield best practices on how government can provide better, equitable and

affordable health services for its over 200 million population.

Ahead of the event, PREMIUM TIMES, the co-organiser presents five things participants should expect from the dialogue

1. Government’s Commitment

The dialogue intends to raise questions on Nigerian government’s commitment to revitalise PHCs.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 flagged off a scheme to revitalise over 10,000 healthcare centers across the country to avail poor Nigerians with qualitative and affordable health services.

Under the revitalisation plan, the Buhari administration, through the NPHCDA and the Federal Ministry of Health, said it would make at least one PHC fully functional in each of the wards across the country.

But several years after the flag-off, not many PHCs have benefitted from this plan.

READ ALSO: Nigeria lacks sufficient PHCs for treatment of citizens – Ehanire

Asides this, Nigeria has over the years developed various polices aimed at improving PHC system including the ‘Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF)’.

Despite these policies, many existing challenges like shortage of human resources, poor funding, dilapidated facilities still limit the efficiency of PHCs in the country.

This and other initiatives on PHC revitalisation will be addressed at the dialogue.

2. Roles of communities in improving PHC standard

According to the World Health Organisation, about 80 per cent of an individual’s healthcare needs throughout their life could be met at the PHC level.

This highlights the importance of a well functional PHC particularly in rural communities.

At the health dialogue, the role of community in the improvement of PHC systems will be discussed.

3. New Health Insurance Act and financing

President Buhari recently signed into law the National Health Insurance Authority Bill (NHIA) 2022 to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The NHIS was established in 2004 with the “objectives of ensuring access to good health care services to every Nigerian and protecting Nigerian families from financial hardship of huge medical bills, and for matters connected therewith.”

But the scheme failed to achieve its mandate. About 18 years after its establishment, at least eight out of 10 Nigerians do not have health insurance cover in Nigeria, according to a 2021 survey by NOI Polls.

The few persons enrolled in the scheme complain of inadequate service delivery. They say the scheme fails to cover key treatments for serious ailments such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, which health insurance could support sufferers to manage.

Many questions have been raised on how the new law will improve on the already existing situation. The health dialogue will serve as an opportunity to raise questions on the clear difference and benefit of the new law.

4. Health priorities ahead of 2023 Elections

The 2023 general election is upon us and various candidates are outlining their plans for the coming years. At the dialogue, panelists will outline the health priorities that should be considered in the coming years.

5. Top bottom financing approach mechanism methodology

The organisers said the way a country finances its health care system is a critical determinant for reaching Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“This is so because it determines whether the health services that are

available are affordable to those that need them,” Mr Adedigba said.

He said in the face of achieving UHC, successful healthcare financing system continues to be a challenge in the country.

He explained that the allocations for health sector has never been enough to address health challenges of the country’s population.

To register to attend the national health dialogue, please click here.

You can also follow this page and the CJID for a live update of the event.

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