Prof. Obinna Onwujekwe of Health Economic, System and Policy, says leveraging on the lessons of COVID-19 pandemic can help achieve resilient healthcare system in Nigeria.
Onwujekwe made the assertions at a two-day Third Anambra State Council on Health, organised by the state Ministry of Health, in partnership with European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO), on Thursday in Awka.
Theme of the programme is: “Resilient and Sustainable Health System for Anambra: Opportunities and Way Forward.”
He urged the three tiers of government to draw on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, this is to develop a pro-resilient healthcare policy that would respond to health emergencies in the country and achieve universal health coverage.
“The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed how weak the Nigerian healthcare system is and how easily essential health services can be disrupted.
“There was reduced demand for healthcare services and the healthcare workforce had constraints. It showed that the Nigerian healthcare system was not resilient.
“Therefore, leveraging COVID-19 pandemic could provide a catalytic to achieving transformative change on the health sector.
“Also, developing a pro-resilient health policy will ensure that people have access to quality, equitable curative and preventive healthcare services that would allow them more control over their lives, thus improving their health and resilience,” he said.
Onwujekwe urged Anambra Government to develop a transformative healthcare sector reform programme for assured resilience, achievement of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In his remarks, Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, identified lack of sustainable structures and programmes as the major challenge facing the healthcare sector in the state.
Soludo, represented by his Deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim, said that his administration would prioritise investment in healthcare, as well as making the system resilient and sustainable in spite of economic challenges.
“The COVID-19 pandemic are reminders that we are at a constant risk of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks.
“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us a very hard lesson; so, we need to think out of the box and get ourselves ready to adjust and respond to such outbreaks,” he said.
Also, Dr Afam Obidike, the state Commissioner for Health, said that the state council was responsible for interventions for protection, promotion, improvement and maintenance of health of citizens of the state.
“This third edition of the state council on health is an avenue to deliberate on critical issues affecting the health sector.
“It also seeks possible solutions to address them bearing in mind the economic constraints,” Obidike said.