The Federal Ministry of Health on Saturday said it would work with the private sector to establish ‘Bank of Health’ to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this at a news conference in Lagos to mark his one year in office.
Adewole said that the ministry would also work with the private sector to publish a directory of health facilities in the country.
He said that the ministry had evolved a development plan even in the face of economic challenges and distractions resulting from Lassa fever and Polio outbreaks.
According to him, the ministry of health has checkmated Lassa fever. Rehabilitation work has commenced in seven laboratories across the country to aid quick and better diagnosis of disease outbreak.
Adewole said that healthcare delivery required collective efforts and should not be left for government alone.
”We have decided to work with the private sector in the coming year because they have the discipline, resources and efficiency to drive the sector.
”Establishment of a Bank of Health similar to Bank of Industry and Bank of Agricultural will provide finance to those who want to set up health facilities.
”We believe this will help retain the one million dollars that is estimated to leave Nigeria for medical tourism.
“ Those who go to India, Europe, even Ghana and Benin Republic, will have no reason to leave the country for medical care,” he said
Adewole said the ministry has set up a technical working group. This group will work in collaboration with the private sector to publish health facilities directory and their services.
”Publishing a directory of health facilities across the country as well as the services they render is important.
“This will help Nigerians to make informed choices and also know where to go,” he said.
The minister said that the ministry would also embark on the revitalization of seven teaching hospitals in 2017. This is because it will not be possible to rehabilitate all the teaching hospitals in 2017. He said the ministry will execute the rehabilitation in phases.
“We are hoping to do seven with two cancer machines next year and then we scale up further.”
Battle against liver cancer
On liver cancer, which is the commonest in Nigeria, Adewole said that the ministry would work with International Agency for Research and Cancer to reduce the burden.
“The agency is developing a new initiative to store groundnut properly. This is because there is a link between Aflatoxin in groundnut and liver cancer.
“With that initiative, we are going to reduce liver cancer in Nigeria,” he added.
He urged the media to partner the ministry to help get feedback, criticisms and also help to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the health sector.
”Year one is gone; we recognise what we have done. For the ones we are yet to do and the challenges in the sector, we are on track; we are also committed and focused.
“In year two, we will see new changes, better progress and more successes in the Nigerian health sector,” Adewole said.