FG to adopt new National Health Policy •Addresses resurgent polio cases

THE Federal Government is set to adopt a new National Health Policy and address the resurgence in polio cases across the Northern part of the country, especially Borno State.

Against this background, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, led the National Council on Health (NCH) in an emergency meeting in Abuja to adopt the revised National Health Policy, discussed the recent flare up in Polio cases, the issue of persisting Lassa Fever outbreaks in some states and Universal Health Coverage.

Addressing the council, the minister said “the 2016 National Health Policy is coming at a most opportune time, shortly after the enactment of first National Health Act 2014 for the country and at a time when there is global re-commitment to a new development framework- the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an increasing global support for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”

Professor Adewole pointed out that over the last two and a half decades, Nigeria has recorded some progress in the performance of its health system; which included improvement in key indices for major communicable diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria) as well as maternal and child health.

Besides, he stated that the country has been able to eradicate Guinea-warm diseases and successfully control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

However, he insisted that the key lesson from these successes is the need for the country to build a resilient health system that assures access to basic health care services in a sustainable manner.

He said: “Through deep introspection of these issues and consultation, we became convinced of the need for a new national health policy to reflect new realities and trends including the unfinished agenda of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emerging health issues especially epidemics, the provision of the National Health Act 2014, and Nigeria’s renewed commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”

“It has also become imperative to develop strategies to respond adequately to globalisation, climate change, the challenges of insurgencies and its impact on Nigerian health system. In addition, the country’s experiences in the implementation of the revised National Health Policy of 2004 and National Strategic Health Development Plan 2010-2015 have provided a basis for the development of a new National Health Policy.”

He pointed out that in order to undertake this important assignment, the government has commissioned a technical working group led by former Minister of Health, Professor Eyitayo Lambo.

The minister, however, told the council members that the development of the policy is never an end in itself, but a means to an end, which is the improvement in the health status of Nigerians.

He, therefore, added that “this requires meticulous implementation of the policy by all stakeholders.”