The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, said the Federal Government will begin a move to vet hospitals by appraising the performance of government-owned hospitals, especially the leadership; adding that this has become imperative due to unethical and unprofessional complaints from Nigerians.
He also said the appraisal will include the leadership of teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs), and specialist hospitals.
The minister said the exercise will be carried out in order to remove what he called political interference; to ensure that the institutions are properly regulated; adding that this will also ensure that Nigerians get easy access to healthcare services, in line with the Renewed Hope initiative of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While unveiling his Four-Point Agenda for the Health sector, which includes improving governance processes, better population health outcomes, investing and ramping up medical industrialisation, as well as improving health security, Prof. Pate said: “We are blessed to have about 400,000 and more health workers of different categories in this country: community health workers, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, physicians, laboratory scientists, technicians, auxiliaries.
“Each of them is a selfless person who is working under difficult circumstances; trying to improve the health of the population. Their intrinsic motivation, despite all the challenges, has delivered some things that are good to our people, and we have to appreciate them. But there is a lot more that we can do in health.
“We will do this together – the Federal Government and its constituents, departments and agencies, as well as the subnational governments. The state governments have an important role and responsibility to advance the health of the Nigerian population. Local governments, the private sector, the media, and ordinary citizens have their roles to play.
“We will look at how the leadership of hospitals is led. We will appraise the leadership of our teaching hospitals, the Federal Medical Centres, and specialist hospitals; so that there is a way to appraise performance and minimise the political interference, because health is too important to be just left in the realm of politics all by itself. We will strengthen the regulatory capacity of our institutions.
“Medical tourism happens in all countries. When I mentioned unlocking the healthcare value chain, it includes mobilising private capital to invest in the physical and equipment infrastructure, and the human resources, so that people don’t have to go to India, if they can have their surgeries here.
“So, if you want to have plastic surgery, there is no need to use the government’s money to pay for your plastic surgery. But if you have the facility that can do it for you, you keep your dollars here and you employ a few Nigerians here to do your plastic surgery for you.”
In addition, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, promised that the government will create a research fund in the medical and health sectors.
He said: “As part of our digitisation of the healthcare system, we’re going to roll out a national electronic medical record where our primary health care centres and hospitals will come on the same platform. Then, as we move into the future, we will encourage each state government to come in and use the same platform.”