By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Federal Government is planning to establish a new institution to be called the Bank of Health and it would be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Health.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who disclosed this on Saturday at a press briefing in Lagos to mark his one year in office, explained that this move is to improve healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
Prof Adewole further disclosed that the bank would be established in partnership with the private sector.
“We have decided to work with the private sector in the coming year because they have the discipline, resources and efficiency to drive the sector.
“We want to establish a Bank of Health similar to Bank of Industry and Bank of Agricultural, so that those who want to set up health facilities can have access to resources.
“We believe that the one million dollars that is estimated to leave Nigeria due to medical tourism will be trapped here.
“Those who go to India, Europe, even Ghana and Benin Republic, will have no reason to leave the country for medical care,” the Minister told newsmen at the briefing.
He further revealed that during the past one year, his ministry had come up with a development plan even in the face of economic challenges and distractions resulting from Lassa fever and Polio outbreaks.
Prof Adewole said Lassa fever has been put under check and rehabilitation work has commenced in seven laboratories across the country to aid quick and better diagnosis of disease outbreak.
The Minister said that healthcare delivery required collective efforts and should not be left for government alone.
He also said the Ministry of Health would embark on the revitalisation of seven teaching hospitals in 2017, maintaining that this would be done in phases.
“We are hoping to do seven with two cancer machines next year and then we scale up further,” he said.
He said the ministry would work with International Agency for Research and Cancer to reduce the burden of liver cancer in the country.
According to him, “The agency is developing a new initiative to store groundnut properly because there is a link between Aflatoxin in groundnut and liver cancer. With that initiative, we are going to reduce liver cancer in Nigeria.”
He urged the media to partner the ministry to help get feedback, criticisms and help to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the health sector.
“Year one is gone; we recognise what we have done. For the ones we are yet to do and the challenges in the sector, we are on track; we are committed and focused.
“In year two, we will see new changes, better progress and more successes in the Nigerian health sector,” Adewole said.
In addition, Prof Adewole disclosed that a technical working group had been set up in collaboration with the private sector to publish health facilities directory and their services.
He explained that, “Publishing a directory of health facilities across the country and the services they render is important, be it renal or heart transplant or even cancer surgeries.
“This will help Nigerians to make informed choices and know where to go.”
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