In its efforts to ensure a sustainable contribution from the private sector to boost the health sector performance, the Federal Government has said it would no longer deprive them of their money.
The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa who made this observation, said if Nigeria wants to see the the best from the private health sector, the government should not deprive them of their money.
According to Dr. Alausa, that’s what the private health sector needs to make sure the public healthcare sector is safe.
Alausa spoke during the 2024 Annual Conference & Annual General Meeting of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), which was held in Lagos from February 8 -9, with the theme ‘Bridging The Gaps in Healthcare: Public Private Integration As A Catalyst For Sustainable Change’.
HFN is a leading coalition of private healthcare stakeholders dedicated to driving impactful changes in healthcare policies, reforms, and implementations.
Participants at the conference cut across the healthcare team, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory scientists, and technicians, among others.
Against the background of what can be done to effectively harness contributions from the private health sector with a view to improve service delivery as well as boost the economy, Alausa said, “We are aware of the debt some public hospitals owe some private healthcare organisations. “We are doing everything to make sure our public hospitals meet their obligations; we will make sure the public hospitals pay their debt to you.”
The minister of state for health and social welfare said, “One major factor that can accelerate our success is when our resources are pulled optimally. it is becoming increasingly crucial for the Federal Government to deepen its relationship with the private sector.”
According to Alausa, collectively, the private market has the potential and the capacity to fill the gap and constraints faced by the government-financed, and government-provided healthcare.
“Traditional critical factors such as collaboration and individual strengths to forge framework and policy targeted opportunity for development such as care of development programmes and capacity are necessary to continue to strengthen our healthcare delivery system.
“This strategy could move the health sector from the mere consuming sector to be a major contributor to our GDP.”
According to him, the Federal Government is focusing on how to harness contributions from the healthcare sector from less than six per cent to over 15 per cent of the GDP as obtained in other developing nations.
“Let me assure you that the government is committed to creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”
He said the Federal government has met with major players in the private sector in the healthcare delivery system and has encouraged them to government support in their private investment and infrastructure and the mobilisation of additional resources to meet their needs.
On his part, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State commissioner for health, commended the significant roles of the private sector players in the state’s healthcare delivery system, saying the private sector provides over 3,000 healthcare facilities in comparison to a limited number of about 300 public hospitals, for a population of 30 million.
With the private sector’s predominance in healthcare, he noted that the government is compelled by all indices to expedite an effective public-private partnership in the state, in line with the demand of the stakeholders for the government to bridge the gaps in healthcare, through the creation of public-private partnerships or integration as a catalyst for sustainable growth.
In her presentation, the President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, highlighted the challenges encountered by members in their quest for healthcare provision, which she reasoned informed the choice of the theme of the conference, ‘Bridging the Gaps in Healthcare: Public-Private Partnerships or Integration as a Catalyst for Sustainable Growth’.
She particularly harped on the need to bridge most gaps in public-private partnerships, irrespective of the significant interventions by the association. She maintained that there are still gaps to be bridged, in order for an average Nigerian to access healthcare seamlessly.