THE Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said on Thursday that the huge investments of the federal government in the health sector were targeted at improving healthcare delivery and curbing outbound medical tourism.
Dr Ehanire said the government was specifically investing in the Nigerian laboratory system, as seen in the building of molecular laboratories in federal tertiary hospitals across the nation, to prepare for both emergency and routine diagnosis of diseases, as obtainable in advanced nations.
The Minister, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Prof. Adekunle Ajayi, spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria’s Annual Scientific Conference and Workshop.
The Minister, who said the government had also invested in universal health coverage for Nigerians, said: “The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is being invigorated to be able to deliver on its mandate. The Federal Ministry of Health is fast-tracking the journey to Universal Health Coverage by strengthening the building blocks of our health system.
“We are building capacity for health workers, improving facilities, removing barriers, and increasing access to quality healthcare. We are deploying technology to drive diagnosis, producing data and evidence for improved clinical decisions,” he said.
James Garba Damen, National President of AMLSN, said the conference was “to brainstorm on how to improve research and other steps that can boost the healthcare system in Nigeria,” adding that many of his members’ researches had helped in stemming the spread of diseases and improving Nigerians’ life expectancy.
Prof. Damen said, “Our association is in support of the amendment to the University Teaching Hospital Act (Reconstruction of Boards Act Cap U15 LFN 2004 Amendment Bill 2021). This amendment, when passed into law, will end professional rivalries and strengthen the ailing health sector in Nigeria.”
“We call on the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the National Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science bill before it to give more recognition, motivation, and competence to professionals in our field,” he said.
Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who said his government had been playing a critical role in boosting facilities and personnel in hospitals for improved healthcare delivery since 2018, called for collective effort to improve the healthcare system.
Fayemi, represented by the Head of Service, Dele Agbede, said, “The time has come for all hands to continue to be on deck to improve the healthcare system through renovation and reconstruction of medical facilities, provision of equipment, and adequate staffing that can deliver quality healthcare to our people at all levels.”