…Says LASG has consistently increased budgetary allocation, efficiency in healthcare
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to world leaders, global think-tank and public office holders to work towards building a sustainable healthcare system for all and facilitate access for the poor and under-served.
Speaking on “Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria: Optimizing Institutional Opportunities and Partnerships for Success” at the weekend at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, Governor Sanwo-Olu charged global think-tank to optimise institutional opportunities and partnerships for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“To achieve UHC, developing countries must first focus on offering their residents a basic minimum set of healthcare services, provided free at the point of care using subsidy, controlled premiums or at a pre-set tariff system, within government-regulated facilities either public or affiliated private,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State as the most populous city in Africa, a financial hub and Africa’s 5th Largest Economy on the continent, has strategically strengthened the health system in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.
He said Lagos State has been using policies to strengthen its health systems, pushing toward the achievement of UHC, which the State considers a journey and not a destination.
“In Lagos State, we believe that policy is the most effective tool that governments can deploy in the pursuit of stronger health systems and eventually approaching UHC.
The right policies will lead to the development of robust health financing systems that will serve the needs of our huge and increasing population,” he said.
Speaking on some of the policies of his administration to strengthen the health system, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government has consistently increased its budgetary allocation and efficiency to healthcare over the years, noting that the desire of his government is to eventually match the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent.
He said his administration, through its capital infrastructure blueprint agenda, is upgrading and renovating its existing primary and secondary health facilities in the short term and it has commenced building new designed fit-for-purpose primary, secondary and specialist health facilities for the future.
“We recognise that the Government cannot cover the funding gap in the health system without support from the private sector. In a bid to encourage public-private partnerships, we set up various institutions such as the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OPPPs) and IBILE Holdings, a private company owned by Lagos State for the purpose of engaging with the private sector. These institutions are mandated to facilitate and fast-track PPP opportunities in Lagos State.
“We understand the need for proper governance within the administrative structure of the health system and so we inaugurated boards for all the agencies within the Lagos State Ministry of Health. This has gone a long way to strengthen the capacity of the hierarchical sub-agencies, keeping them focused on their mandates.
“We believe in health insurance as a tool that we can leverage to quickly cover ground in our quest for UHC and so we have thrown the full weight of our support behind the newly established National Health Insurance Act, and mandated our Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to domesticate and enrol residents of Lagos into the Lagos State Social Health Insurance Scheme.
“We are leveraging partnerships with Global organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Fund amongst others to explore innovative ways to strengthen our primary health system. In fact, I believe that such organisations’ decisions to directly fund a sub-national like Lagos State is a testament to the clarity of our vision and our drive to achieve results,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that his administration has concluded some innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to modernise the equipment in the State’s secondary health centres and set up specialised health facilities.
“We have commenced two pilot projects: The Lagos State Oncology Centre and the Omotunde Ajoke Cole Smart Hospital. The success of these projects will mark a new dawn in our health system, where the best of the public and private sectors come together to provide world-class affordable healthcare.
“We are working hard to improve the quality of human resources we have in our health centres. We are also using a system of meritocracy to appoint Medical Directors (MDs) in health centres and ensure continuous medical and administrative education.
“We understand the critical role played by logistics within our health system and we are making sure that people, essential medicines, and consumables are easily transported within our health system,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said while Lagos State Government is working on innovative mechanisms to pay for healthcare, it also needs to ensure that it is building a healthcare delivery system that can provide decent healthcare services to the people of the State.
25 Million Nigerians May Face Food Crisis By August 2023 – FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the Nations (FAO) has estimated that 25.3 million Nigerians are in danger of experiencing food crisis between June and August 2023 unless urgent steps are taken to scale up and sustain livelihood and food assistance.
FAO said this was contained in its October 2022 Food and Nutrition Analysis.
The analysis reportedly indicates that about 17 million people including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were in “crisis or worse level” through October 2022.
Of that number, three million are living in Borno, Adamwa and Yobe states, FAO said.
“Furthermore, an estimated 25.3 million people are projected to be in crisis or worse levels during the 2023 lean season (June – August) with 4.4 million in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, if immediate steps to scale up and sustain livelihood and food assistance are not taken,” it added in a statement.
The statement noted that the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Norway renewed its funding cooperation with FAO aimed at helping the most vulnerable populations in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba states with a special focus on women-led households.
The three-year intervention will benefit 43,990 households (about 307,930 individuals), according to FAO, with at least 45 percent of them being women as direct beneficiaries receiving items such as agricultural inputs, livestock assets, and energy saving stoves.
The beneficiaries reportedly include IDPs, host communities and returnees of relocated households with special attention paid to women-headed households.
Speaking in Abuja at a signing ceremony to kick-start the project’s implementation, the Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Norway to Nigeria, Knut Eiliv Lein said his country remained committed to supporting the efforts to restore the conflict-affected livelihoods in the North-East.
“This project we are signing here today is part of Norway’s larger support to Nigeria in general, including humanitarian efforts specifically targeting those in need in the North-East region.
“We have partnered with many organisations in addressing a number of issues, including health, food security, democracy, gender equality and more,” Ambassador Lein said.
On his part, the FAO Representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero appreciated the support by Norway, describing it as another milestone in strengthening the commitment in the fight against poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition in Nigeria.
“The new project, whose agreement we are signing here today, marks the continuous and fruitful collaboration, and partnership that exists between the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Norway and FAO in Nigeria,” Mr. Kafeero said.
“Thanks to this collaboration for years now, the conflict-affected populations of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states have greatly benefited from the agricultural-based livelihoods support that has enabled them to improve their food security as well as build their resilience.”
The support aims at enhancing resilience to the humanitarian crisis, climate variability and change of vulnerable communities; and building resilient livelihoods in the BAY states against the negative effects of climate change, FAO said.
The beneficiaries, who will reportedly receive special training on animal husbandry, farming and agribusiness, are IDPs, host communities and returnees of relocated households with special attention paid to women-headed households.
Kaduna Train Attack Victims Wants Compensation From FG
Victims of the March 28, 2022 train attack in Kaduna are demanding compensation from the Federal Government to enable them to restart life.
Their demand is coming just 24 hours after the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) resumed train operations on the Kaduna-Abuja route, eight months after it suspended operations following the attack that claimed the lives of nine passengers.
The victims, who spoke to journalists in Kaduna, lamented that most of them lost means of livelihood when they were in the custody of the terrorists who kidnapped them during the train attack.
“So, many of us have lost what we are doing and our source of income. As a citizen of this country, which I am very proud to be, I am expecting more from them (the government),” said one of the victims Mariam Idris. “I am expecting them to come to our aid.”
They also claim that the Federal Government is yet to fulfil the promises made to them shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari upon their release in October, noting that most of them are already suffering from depression and psychological disorders that require urgent medical attention.
“Actually, they did collect our contacts that they would get back to us. But till now, nobody has said anything,” Mariam added.
“We are just living by His mercy because as of the time our family members realised ourselves in this mess, they have gone through difficulties – let’s be sincere.”
Mariam‘s tale is not different from that of Bala Mohammed who said “nobody gave us a single kobo” even when some of them are having health challenges.
“The health challenge we are facing now is very critical,” he added.
While he thanked the Federal Government for rescuing them, Mr Bala is asking for more.
“Our demand is that the Federal Government should come to our rescue because the trauma we are facing now is very critical,” he said. “We don’t have money to go to the hospital to take care of our health.”
Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits.
— As Oyetola, APC Close Case
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.
This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All-Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.
When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.
Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.
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