New Telegraph

FG Recruited 2,497 Doctors, Health Workers In Six Months

…says 750,000 additional Nigerians enrolled into NHIS

In renewed efforts to advance health care delivery, the Federal Government has revealed that 2,497 health workers including doctors, nurses/midwives and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) within the last six months.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate who made the revelation at the third edition of the ministerial press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, also announced that more women were attending Ante Natal Care (ANC) services for their well-being and that of their unborn child(ren), to reduce the high rate of maternal and child mortalities.

According to him, the current administration was poised towards expanding access to vital healthcare services, particularly in rural and underserved areas, improving health outcomes and reducing the burden of preventable diseases through sustained investment and strategic partnerships.

The minister disclosed that the government was set to release an increased sum of N50 billion as the first tranche of the Basic Healthcare Fund, away from the N25 billion allocated in 2022, to ensure more persons have access to quality healthcare services in the country.

He said: “As a result of our efforts, we have recorded an increase in the proportion of women who attend ANC. Over 550,000 women now attend their first ANC and are armed with the right information and care to improve their pregnancy outcomes and reduce maternal and child mortality.

“The achievements we have recorded signal progress and improvements. To sustain and continue to build on these gains, in the last six months, the Government of Nigeria recruited 2,497 Doctors, Midwives/Nurses, and CHEWs to bridge the gaps due to attrition. An additional 1,400 health facilities now have Skilled Birth Attendants to assist in deliveries at the health facilities. This has increased the number of health facility deliveries to as high as 230,000 deliveries per month.

“The Federal Government will be releasing N50 billion as the first tranche of the Basic Healthcare Fund, a significant increase from N25 billion allocated in 2022. This infusion of funds will breathe new life into our primary healthcare facilities, ensuring that quality care is accessible to all citizens.”

Pate also disclosed that an additional 750,000 Nigerians have been enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), “Since the beginning of this administration, we have enrolled about 750,000 more Nigerians in health insurance. We remain committed to providing access to quality health for all Nigerians through the Vulnerable Group Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).”

On the rising cost of pharmaceutical products, the minister noted that the government was on the verge of releasing an executive order to curb the escalating drug prices in the short term.

“While our mid to long-term goal involves the domestication of imported drugs within the next three years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade.

“In a strategic move to fortify the pharmaceutical infrastructure across the nation, the Federal Government initiated the construction of pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states in collaboration with Drug Management Agencies.

“Two additional warehouses at the federal level are also underway, complemented by the installation of the Warehousing Management Information System (WMIS) – M Supply, in these 21 pharma-grade warehouses.

“This visionary project commenced in October 2023, and is slated for completion in March 2024, with scheduled commissioning in April 2024.”

While stating that over 5 million children have been immunized with the Penta vaccine to guard them against diphtheria and 10 million children with Td vaccines, Pate added that response activities were being strengthened to address Lassa fever outbreaks promptly to contain further spread.

On Human Papilomavirus Infection (HPV) responsible for cervical cancer, the minister said 4,95million eligible girls aged 9-14 years representing 80% of eligible girls, have been vaccinated since the launch of the HPV vaccine in October 2023 across 15 states plus the FCT.

“The Phase 2 introduction is scheduled for May 2024 in Anambra, Borno, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Rivers, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Plateau and Zamfara. “

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