To Cope New and Future Pandemics Nigeria’s Minister Urges for Stronger Health Systems

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, has urged delegates to the special National Council on Health (NCH) to use the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen the country’s health system. 

The theme for NCH; “the Journey towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Applying lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to build a resilient health system” reflects the reality of the times and emphasizes the need for a resilient health system, agile and flexible enough to withstand the shocks and challenges of emerging and resurfacing disease outbreaks according to the  Minister. 

The Minister urged healthcare executives to think critically about how to refocus, re-energize, and re-program the future of health, ensuring that lessons learned from the COVID 19 pandemic response are used to develop statutes, strategies, and frameworks that continue to provide high-quality health care to our people while also rebuilding. Above all, it assures that no one is left behind as the country builds a resilient and world-class health system. 

He also reminded that the SDGs’ end term is just nine years away, and the targets of the health-related SDGs, in particular SDG 3, are still far off. The National Strategic Health Development Plan2 (NSHDP2), which sets a medium-term health sector plan to achieve the goals and objectives of national policy and move closer to SDG targets, is nearing the end of its life cycle. 

In the context of the global health agenda, WHO will continue to lead and give technical assistance to Nigeria in the development and implementation of its own policies and objectives. This is something we’ve taken into account as we assess our operations plan and budget for the next two years. 

Speakers from the World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, and traditional leaders, in separate goodwill messages, urged the country to invest more in Nigerians’ health and intensify measures to monitor the implementation of the NCH’s special meeting’s resolutions and policies, which were preceded by a three-day technical session. 

The week-long event will bring together around 160 delegates, including 36 Commissioners for Health, officials from donor agencies, and academics.