The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for collaboration between the federal and state governments to address multiple health system challenges in Nigeria.
The UNICEF deputy representative in Nigeria, Rownak Khan, said this at the induction of the newly appointed Commissioners of Health in Nigeria themed “Navigating Health Leadership: From Promise to Impact” in Abuja.
Ms Khan said effective coordination at the federal and state levels was at the core of the leadership required for Nigeria to effectively and sustainably address her multiple health system challenges.
She said UNICEF believed progress would be elusive unless there were policy and implementation alignment between national and subnational entities.
Ms Khan explained that the signals coming from the coordinating minister of health and social welfare and various health commissioners indicate that the new dispensation brings with it a unique opportunity for innovation and efficiency in responding to the many challenges facing the health sector.
“We look forward to the concretisation of the government’s strategic direction in the health sector, especially the Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) proposed by the coordinating minister as a way of maximising the impact of development assistance to the country,” noted the UNICEF official.
Ms Khan pledged UNICEF’s support for the federal and state ministries of health to further elaborate, implement, and track this and other policy initiatives.
“One of UNICEF’s foremost priorities is the strengthening of primary health care. We recognise that a robust primary healthcare system is the bedrock of a nation’s health infrastructure,” she stressed. “It is the gateway to improving maternal and child health outcomes, nutrition, and immunisation coverage.”
Ms Khan added, “We stand ready to provide technical expertise, capacity building, and resources to help the commissioners revitalise and fortify your primary healthcare facilities.
“We support the vision of Prof. Pate to ensure that healthcare services are accessible, affordable, and equitable, reaching even the most remote and underserved communities.”