By Fabian Ekeruche
A Professor of Health Economic, System and Policy, Obinna Onwujekwe, has said that Leveraging on COVID-19 pandemic could help achieve resilient heath system in Nigeria.
Onwujekwe made the ascertion at a two-day 3rd Anambra State Council on Health organised by the Ministry of Health in partnership with European Union and the World Health Organisation, on Thursday in Awka.
The programme had the theme – ‘ Resilient and Sustainable Health System for Anambra: Opportunities and Way Forward’.
He urged governments at all levels to draw on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to develop a pro resilient health policy that would respond to health emergencies in the country and achieve universal health coverage.
“The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed how weak the Nigerian health system is and how easily essential health services can be disrupted.
‘There was reduced demand for health services and the health workforce had constraints. It showed that the Nigerian health 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 health services that would allow then more control over their lives, thus improving their health and resilience,” he said.
Onwujekwe urged the Anambra state government to develop a transformative health sector reform programme for assured resilience, achievement of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In his address, Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, identified lack of sustainable structures and programmes as the major challenge facing the health sector in the state.
Soludo who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim, said that his administration would prioritise investment in health as well as making the health system resilient and sustainable inspite 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.
In his remarks, Dr Afam Obidike, state’s Commissioner for Health, said the state council was responsible for interventions for the protection, promotion, improvement and maintenance of the health of citizens of the state.
“This third edition of the state council on health is an avenue to delibrate on critical issues affecting the health sector and seek possible solutions to address them bearing in mind the economic constraints, ” Obidike said.