Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday said the Tinubu administration has its eyes locked on domestic routes to financing the health needs of Nigerians, which he described as one of its three “major commitments”.
“Improved health outcomes for all Nigerians; increased domestic financing for health; and promoting health industrialization…these are three major commitments I am making on behalf of my boss and rest assured that our word is our bond,” Shettima told a delegation from the Global Health Partners.
The GHP includes the Global Fund, the US President’s Malaria Initiative, and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which paid the VP a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
State House Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, revealed this in a statement he signed on Tuesday titled ‘Increased domestic health financing, industrialization, others will top President Tinubu’s agenda in the health sector, says VP Shettima.’
The Vice President, who restated the commitment of the Tinubu administration to repositioning Nigeria’s healthcare system, said the administration is “determined to catapult the nation to a higher pedestal.”
“We are committed to changing the narrative of inclusive growth, of a Nigeria where every black man will be proud of,” he added.
He described the Nigerian leader as “a man of vision” who “has the courage to follow through whatever he believes in.”
Corroborating his point, Shettima cited the appointment of the Minister of Health, Prof. Ali Pate, describing it as a clear testimony to the drive, the political commitment of the President, and the current leadership towards repositioning the Nigerian nation.
He said, “The Minister of Health is a man of impeccable credentials.
“He is a celebrated public health practitioner with the experience, exposure, and commitment to drive the change we seek in the health sector.”
Therefore, he urged the Global Health Partners and other stakeholders in the health sector to support the new leadership in the Health Ministry to actualize the President’s vision for all Nigerians.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare said the visit of the global health partners was to take stock of the progress made so far and reassure the Tinubu administration of their commitment to the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, among others.
After the meeting, he told State House Correspondents that the partners had pledged about $2bn grant financing for the health of Nigerians from 2023 to 2026.
He said, “The three visitors have now committed almost $2bn in grant financing for the health of Nigerians for the next three years.
“That’s a remarkable commitment which shows they are confident of the vision of our President and the approach that he has now taken to deliver along with state governments and local governments.
Pate also revealed plans to retrain 120,000 health workers in the next 12 to 18 months.
“The second thing we discussed with them is retraining frontline health workers. We are developing a programme with them to retrain 120,000 frontline health workers in Nigeria from all the states over the next 12 to 18 months.
“These workers will be trained to serve the population at the grassroots to boost the primary healthcare system. We are working with state governors and local governments,” he affirmed.
On his part, the US Global AIDS Coordinator, John Nkengasong, noted that the Health Minister’s clarity of vision and commitment to building an inclusive health system for the country would help the partners align their goals and targets in the various interventions.
In separate remarks, Mr. Peter Sands of the Global Fund and David Walton of the President’s Malaria Initiative commended the Federal Government for its efforts towards combating Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis. He urged all stakeholders to sustain the momentum, especially in the bid to achieve the 2030 target of eradicating HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Other dignitaries at the meeting were the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu; US Consul General in Lagos, Will Stevens; and the WHO Country Rep, Dr. Walter Mulombo, among others.