There is every indication that the health sector will experience peace and zero strikes and all Nigerians will have access to better and qualitative healthcare services in 2015.
This is following the release of the Yayale Committee Report on harmony in the sector.
The Minister of State and Supervising Minister for Health, Khaliru Alhassan stated this while responding to questions from journalists in Abuja, yesterday.
He expressed optimism that with the policies put in place by the President Jonathan-led administration, Nigerians will have access to better, improved and qualitative health care services in 2015.
He therefore advised Nigerians to cast their votes towards continuity and retain the Jonathan- led government so as to reap the benefits of the policies, programmes and strategies already on ground.
According to him: “We are happy to announce that the Yayale committee has already submitted its report, we are confident the report will resolve most of the tensions in the sector and hopefully we will not experience any strike this year.”
While giving reasons why he remain optimistic that Nigerians will experience better health services in 2015 and the years ahead, Alhassan said: ” We know we still have a lot to do to ensure that our health sector is recognized as one of the best in the world, but we are on track and are putting in place the right mechanism to move the sector forward.
“With team work we eradicated Ebola which is still ravaging other African countries, we worked together with all health stakeholders at all levels of government to eliminate this from our shores”.
“This is the kind of team spirit we are working to restore in the sector, one that is patient based and centered.”
Speaking further on the issue of the current strike by health workers, the Minister said that the Yayale Ahmed report recommendations will be implemented to the later so that all actors in the sector would be happy and have a sense of belonging and put in their best for the good of all Nigerians.
According to him, a lot of good policies and programmes have been put in place in the health sector by the present government for the good of all, stressing that, “look at the way the country has drastically reduced polio from 56 cases in 2013 to only 6 cases in 2014”.
“We are on the way to becoming polio free and getting our certification from the WHO because we have not recorded any new polio cases for almost a year, but we are not sitting on our oars, we have introduced various new vaccines to reduce infant diseases and deaths.”
He reiterated that the Health Act recently passed by the President will help boost the sector, noting: “The passage of the health bill into law is quite timely, because it would help in providing additional funds to the sector. This is even as oil prices has taken a down ward tip.
“We know that various financial experts have predicted that hard times are ahead for the country, we are already working with all our stakeholders to see how we can adjust our projections to aid us in planning better.”
On the intervention in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the health minister said that in 2014, the federal government launched the elimination of the Mother To Child Transmission (eMTCT).
“The government has already declared a zero tolerance policy to new positive babies, and this is a big commitment but we are determined to see it through.
“We also intend to test more Nigerians and also put much more persons on drugs, these are all plans that are in top gear, a distortion in the plan might not augur well for the country.”
Alhassan further stressed that: “We have gone quite far in our plans to reposition the health sector, and I believe having a government that already understands the policies will go a long way in helping us achieve our goals.
“We need continuity to sustain these policies, especially now, if you recall the government also launched the universal health coverage which is targeted at reducing out of pocket spending to the minimum.
“This has already started in earnest and the idea is to get a big pool that can cater for the health needs of women, children, elderly and the vulnerable persons.
“A lot of improvement and transformative changes are happening under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We are not there yet but we are getting there.”