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How FG creates opportunities in various sectors, by Osinbajo

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Osinbajo


Earmarks N55b For Basic Healthcare

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, declared that the Federal Government has deployed huge resources to address challenges in the education and healthcare sectors, human capital development and related issues in the country.

Osinbajo spoke in his keynote address at the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Leadership Colloquium 2021 themed ‘Government and Big Development: Realities and Solutions for Nigeria’, organised to mark the birthday of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.

Explaining circumstances where government may need to intervene directly, the Vice President said: “Direct government intervention is crucial. You cannot have such conditions (such as in the country) and not have some direct interventions from government.”

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Making reference to some specific interventions by the Federal Government, Osinbajo said: “In our first budget, we devoted N500 billion to our Social Investment Programme (SIP). Five hundred thousand young graduates were engaged in the N-Power programme, and 9.5 million children were fed daily in the school feeding programme, just before COVID-19, across 34 states.

In another event, Osinbajo promised that the Federal Government would ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians, particularly the most vulnerable.

Represented by the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, at the fourth yearly legislative summit on health, the Vice President stressed the need to set aside special funds for public health emergencies in the country.

At the summit themed ‘Universal Health Coverage and Health Security: Two sides of a Coin for an Efficient Health System’, Osinbajo noted that the experience since last year of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) exposed the vulnerability of the health system and the importance of preparedness, diagnosis and response mechanism.

He noted that public health security required proactive and reactive measures to minimise the danger and impact of acute public health events, adding that one proactive step was to set funds aside for public health emergency.

Earlier at the, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, had stressed the need for robust strategies to strengthen health security.

The lawmaker also noted that COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses of health systems and the low level of preparedness for outbreaks. 

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how unprepared we are, and it is possible that we may not get out of this pandemic before another outbreak. We need emergency mechanism and strategies for emergency preparedness in the country.” 

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Oloriegbe, who stressed the need for the country to attain UHC, said government needed to ensure that people’s health needs were met with sufficient quality without leading to financial difficulty. 

He noted that the purpose of the summit was to review the state of Nigeria’s health system in the light of emerging pandemic to strengthen health security.

“The objective of setting up the legislative network was to effectively leverage statutory functions of the legislature in Nigeria for improved health financing, towards effective and efficient utilisation of the resources for UHC.

“Deliberate actions by legislators on health and nutrition have resulted in increased budgetary releases to the health sector in some states. Thirty-four of the 36 states have enacted legal frameworks to provide financial risk protection on healthcare,” the senator representing Kwara Central added.

In his own remarks, Mamora stressed the need to ensure the principles of UHC in terms of availability, accessibility and affordability of health care.

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