By Etuka Sunday
Chief Executive Officer of the Aliko Dangote Foundation has told stakeholders on health that Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) is one of the top priorities of the Foundation.
This is coming as the Federal Government through the Minister of Health, and other stakeholders lauded the Dangote Foundation for its positive impact on the country’s health sector.
Ms Zouera Youssoufou who was speaking at the ThisDay Newspaper Healthcare Policy Dialogue Thursday in Abuja, said the Foundation will continue to work with governments and civil society organizations for the development of impactful health sector programmes in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
According to her, the theme of the 2nd ThisDay Dialogue with the theme: ‘The Journey to Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria’ is very apt.
Aliko Dangote Foundation is one of Nigeria’s biggest private sector donor to the health sector.
Ms Youssoufou said the Foundation over the years have expended billions of naira in supporting the causes of health through its strides to eradicate Wild Polio Virus in Nigeria.
She said the Foundation has made significant social investments in health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief.
Recently the Foundation made a pledge to commit $100million to fight malnutrition in some parts of the country, she said.
Ms Youssoufou said the Foundation is also trying to woo other private sector operators to commit at least one percent of their profit after tax to support the health sector.
She commended the ThisDay Newspaper for bringing together stakeholders to find solution to the country’s health challenges.
Speaking, Minister of Health Prof Isaac Folorunso Adewole who commended Dangote Foundation and other stakeholders said the Muhammadu Buhari administration is not resting on its oars in trying to achieve a Universal Health Coverage(UHC).
The Minister also launched the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund(BHCPF) tagged HUWE, saying it is aimed at reaching eight million Nigerians in its start-up phase.
He said the the BHCPF is coming since the National Health Act was signed into law in 2014.
He said the Health Act stipulates that 1% of consolidated Federal Revenue be set aside to support the BHCPF. 50% of the funds are allocated to the National Health Insurance Sheme; 45% to the National Healthcare Delivery Agency and 5% for dealing with emergencies.
Speaking earlier, Chairman and Publisher of ThisDay Newspaper Mr. Nduka Obaigbena said he was elated by the contribution of government and stakeholders after its first dialogue in 2017.
Mr. Obaigbena said Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed assured participants that the funding of the health sector has been on the increase since Buhari government came to being.
Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghbreyesus said given its large population, Nigeria’s health sector is very central to Africa and the world.
He urged the Nigerian government to prioritize Primary Healthcare, saying its effort on UHC was timely.
Dangote Foundation had committed billions of Naira on critical intervention in the health sector by building hospitals and equipping teaching hospitals.
His Foundation is currently building the biggest maternity wards in Aminu Kano specialist hospital and state of the arts Surgical Operating Theatre and Diagnostic Centre (SDC), at a cost N7 billion, which soon be completed.
The 900-bed capacity maternity at the hospital, reputed for highest number of in-patients in sub-Saharan Africa, has been lacking facilities that may detract from the new SDC being built by the Foundation, hence the decision to carry out the construction and renovation of the auxiliary facilities.