Group Visits Health Minister, Calls for Accountability, Citizen Participation in Health Policy Designs.

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The Nigeria Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum, a coalition of Civil Societies and Non-governmental organizations has called for a wholistic reappraisal of Nigeria’s health sector policy thrusts to allow for inputs of civil societies and citizens participation.

The coalition which is currently working on many major health development areas including Basic Healthcare Development Provision Fund (BHCPF) Accountability Framework, made the request during a consultative meeting with the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare Minister Prof Muhammed Ali Pate at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on Friday.

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

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

Dr. Alawode stated that the coalition would like to have access to the details of the emerging policy thrust so that necessary recommendations can be made towards effective implementation.

At the consultative meeting, which also has in attendance the veteran health journalist Chief (Mrs.) Moji Makanjuola, the coalition appreciated the fact that health has become an integral part of development and the relevance of the CSOs have 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 seeks the support of the Hon Minister on this.

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

The group noted further that the mobilization of citizens and CSOs at all levels to review the new strategies and come up with a position paper which would be presented to the Ministry. Dr. Alawode appreciated the Hon Coordinating Minister for the giant strides being made in the health sector with regard to policy thrusts.

In his response, the Hon Minister reiterated that the policy direction of the current administration and the Ministry is based on four cardinal areas which include Effective Governance; efficient, equitable and quality health systems; Unlocking value chain; Promoting clinical research and development; and Health security.

He disclosed that the 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. Prof Pate assured that the focus of the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to strategically mobilize available resources towards getting more results, particularly at the point of service delivery.

The Honourable Coordinating Minister had set up a committee to develop the Basic Healthcare Provision Programme (BHCPP), incorporating the redesign of the Basic healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF). Further to this, the committee met with a coalition of CSOs/NGOs to discuss key elements of the redesigned BHCPF and key features of the BHCPP. The meeting is part of the consultative process supporting the rollout of the BHCPP.

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