Home Economy FG recruits 2,497 Doctors, Midwives/Nurses as Nigeria secures $1bn Afriexim bank facility for healthcare

FG recruits 2,497 Doctors, Midwives/Nurses as Nigeria secures $1bn Afriexim bank facility for healthcare

by Business News Report

In its bid to promote medical tourism and make more drugs and facilities readily available to Nigerians in needs of medicare, the federal government has secured Afriexim Bank funding to the tune of $1 billion. At the same time, the federal government is set to release the first tranche of N50 billion to boost health care delivery under the Basic Healthcare Fund, a major leap from the previous N25 billion allocated for the same purpose in 2022 before the Tinubu administration came into office. Within the same period the ministry has enrolled no fewer than 750,000 Nigerians into its national health insurance scheme to give them unhindered access to health care delivery. Through enlightenment and other approaches, the ministry has opened the eyes of 550,000 women to attend ante-natal clinics for the first time in their lives and have access to information to promote their health and their babies.

Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, announced the developments at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja on the activities of the ministry since taking over the helm of affairs last year. Prof Pate, who was flanked by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, boasted that the efforts of the administration to boost medical industrialisation are gaining momentum while strategic partnerships and funding initiatives have helped in unlocking the full potential of the country’s healthcare sector. The minister said, “Through strategic partnerships and funding initiatives, we are unlocking the full potential of our healthcare sector. I am pleased to announce that the Ministry has secured a $1 billion pledge from Afriexim bank, alongside commitments from foreign partners, to support our endeavors in this regard.

“Let me reaffirm the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to advancing the health and well-being of every Nigerian. While we celebrate these achievements, we recognize that our work is far from over. We remain steadfast in our resolve to build a healthier, more resilient nation, and we will continue to collaborate with stakeholders at all levels to achieve our shared vision of a thriving healthcare system for all,” Prof Pate assured. The minister, announced the recruitment of no fewer than 2497 doctors, midwives/nurses and community health extension workers by the administration to bridge the gap created by the exit of many health workers from Nigeria in recent times. Pate said within the same period, no fewer than 1400 health facilities across the country had also been blessed with skilled birth attendants to assist in deliveries in those centres, boosting health facility deliveries to 230 per month.

The minister also stated the resolve of the administration to improve tertiary health care delivery and announced that 12 of the country’s federal hospitals and health centres had been earmarked for infrastructure upgrade and provision of oncology, radiology and diagnostic facilities to enable them to provide specialised care and meet the needs of Nigerians.

On how to checkmate the rising cost of drugs and essentials, the minister announced that an executive order is being put in place to curb the escalating drug prices in the short term, while mid to long-term goal involves the domestication of imported drugs within the next three years, in collaboration with the ministry of trade. He also said that in a bid to fortify the pharmaceutical infrastructure across the nation, the federal government had initiated the construction of pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states in collaboration with Drug Management agencies.

The minister said, “Since assuming office, we have prioritized the revitalisation of primary healthcare facilities across the nation, ensuring they are adequately equipped and staffed to provide essential services to communities. Through sustained investment and strategic partnerships, we have expanded access to vital healthcare services, particularly in rural and underserved areas, improving health outcomes and reducing the burden of preventable diseases.

“Furthermore, our commitment to immunisation has yielded remarkable results in protecting our population from vaccine-preventable diseases. Through robust vaccination campaigns and outreach programs, we have achieved significant strides in sustaining immunisation coverage nationwide, safeguarding our communities, particularly our children, from devastating diseases. Notably, our swift response to the diphtheria outbreak underscored our commitment to proactive disease control measures, swiftly containing the spread and saving countless lives. Since the inception of diphtheria response, over 5 million children have been immunised with the Penta vaccine and 10 million children with Td vaccines. “ In our ongoing efforts to combat the threat of Lassa fever, I am pleased to announce the comprehensive measures taken by the Federal Government to enhance response capabilities and safeguard the health of Nigerians. To strengthen our response to Lassa fever outbreaks, the Federal Government has embarked on the distribution of essential response commodities to states and treatment centers across the nation especially in affected states.

“These include Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), Ribavirin (injection and tablets), body bags, thermometers, hypochlorite hand sanitisers, and Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials. By ensuring the availability of these critical resources, we aim to equip healthcare workers and facilities with the necessary tools to effectively manage and contain outbreaks. Recognising the importance of strategic planning and preparedness, we have developed a robust distribution plan for Lassa fever commodities. This plan ensures the timely and equitable distribution of resources to states and treatment centres based on their specific needs and vulnerability. Additionally, prepositioning of commodities has been undertaken to facilitate swift response and minimise logistical challenges during outbreaks. Confirmed cases of Lassa fever are promptly treated at identified treatment centres across the states. These centres are equipped with the necessary medical expertise, facilities, and medications to provide comprehensive care to patients. By centralising treatment and care, we can effectively manage cases, prevent transmission, and improve patient outcomes.

“We remain resolute in our commitment to mitigating the impact of Lassa fever and safeguarding the health and well-being of all Nigerians. Through strategic planning, resource allocation, and collaborative efforts with state governments and healthcare partners, we are confident in our ability to effectively respond to outbreaks and protect our communities. I am delighted to announce the successful coverage of HPV vaccination. Since the launch of the HPV vaccine in October 2023 across 15 states plus the FCT, we have successfully vaccinated more than 4,95million eligible girls aged 9-14 years representing 80% of eligible girls. The Phase 2 introduction is scheduled for May 2024 in Anambra, Borno, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Rivers, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Plateau and Zamfara states,” the minister said.

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