– As Medic West Africa Hosts International Exhibitors
For Nigeria to get things right in the healthcare sector, a strong and incorruptible culture of accountability must be enshrined and pursued to the letter by stakeholders in the sector. The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr Salma Anas, made this observation in her keynote address at the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) Leadership Conference during the 9th Edition of the Medic West Africa Exhibition, held at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos from 26 to 28 September, 2023.
While thanking the organisers of the exhibition – Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and Medic West Africa – Dr Anas said Nigeria must get it right in terms of leadership and governance, if the nation must attain the desired milestone in the healthcare industry. According to her, accountability, which remains a cardinal leadership and governance factor, would go a long way in ensuring efficiency, value and result.
“We realize that Nigerians have a lot of weaknesses in the areas of leadership and governance within our sector, with no or limited accountability systems that will not allow us to move forward. So, this is an area that has been prioritised. Because even if you have limited funding or all the funding that you need, if you don’t address issues of accountability, you will not be able to show results.
Commending the administration of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu for its efforts so far towards repositioning the Nigerian health sector for optimal performance, Anas insisted that Nigerians must have access to quality healthcare solutions, especially homegrown solutions, irrespective of their social status.
“The President, under his leadership, is committed to the attainment of universal healthcare coverage where no one is left behind, using solutions – sustainable solutions, homegrown solutions, and best practices – to ensure that we provide access to quality healthcare services for all Nigerians, irrespective of where they live, irrespective of their socioeconomic status and our diversity,” she said.
While highlighting the significance of partnerships, she added that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with the private sector in improving the fortunes of the health sector in Nigeria. She however noted that the FG cannot do it all alone. It is against this background that she stated that efforts were ongoing towards identifying funding options to boost service delivery in the sector.
“The government of Nigeria cannot do it all. Even though we are committed to ensuring stronger utility of government funding in health care service, using different innovative approaches, one of which is the raising of care funds. We need to look out of the box to innovate and explore several opportunities and options that we can have more impact on the health sector. One of which is a partnership with the private sector,” she observed.
Dr Anas also expressed the need for urgent action in the area of tackling health emergencies, which according to her, cannot be possible without the application of Artificial Intelligence and technology. She said: “Without artificial intelligence and without technology, we will not be able to promptly address public health emergencies, including emerging emergencies. The capacities need to exist at sub-national levels to be able to detect and promptly address such issues.”
Medic West Africa remains the biggest and most glamorous healthcare exhibition in West Africa, offering business and partnership platforms to manufacturers and buyers. The 2023 edition has attracted over 4,500 trade professionals and clinicians in the healthcare industry who seek innovative opportunities to expand their business networks. Being a major hub of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the West African sub-region and a huge market for medicines, Nigeria will continue to attract global players in the health sector.