The Federal Government has said provision of quality and affordable healthcare for all Nigerians irrespective of social status remains the cardinal objective of the present administration’s “Renewed Hope Agenda”.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) George Akume, made this known on Thursday in Abuja during the official commissioning and presentation of vital medical equipment to select healthcare institutions in Nigeria by National Lottery Trust. Fund, an Agency supervised by the Federal Ministry Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs.
“Let us champion the cause of accessible healthcare, advocate for those who cannot and continue toward the future where everyone regardless of circumstances can enjoy a wide range of good heathcare “, Sen. Akume said.
The SGF was represented by Director, Information and Communication Technology, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Isa Francis.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Zaphaniah Jisalo, said plans are underway to make the healthcare system in Nigeria effective and efficient, thereby curbing the amount of foreign exchange spent on medical tourism..
“I have no doubt in my mind that the agency under my supervision will be in the forefront of driving the critical aspect of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Amed Tinubu, among which is to directly address the nation’s healthcare challenges. It is, therefore on the strength of this effort that I encourage the Trust Fund to continue on this laudable path that is capable of making overseas medical tourism a thing of the past,” the Minister said.
The Minister further charged the Trust Fund to ensure full monitoring and evaluation of the process in other to keep track of the utilization of the facility so that project outcomes envisaged are delivered to Nigerians.
Also speaking, the Chairman Senate Committee on Special Duties, Kaka Lawal, said the National Assembly will create an enabling environment that will bring healthcare to the doorstep of all.
While calling on other Ministeries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to emulate the good works done by Special Duties and its Agencies, he charged the latter to make sure the good causes projects affects all.
In his stead, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties, Kabir Ibrahim, commended Trust Fund for delivering on its mandate but charged it to consider the dark side of lottery, as it could lead to addiction and have plans in place for rehabilitation.
He also informed MDAs that Special Duties has the strong backing of the Federal Government as regards projects implementation and enjoined them to cooperate with the Ministry as only projects verified and certified by it will be cleared for payments.
In his contribution, Chairman, House Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs Canice Nwachuckwu, commended the Ministry and Trust Fund, saying more of such projects should be replicated
Speaking too at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Ibiene Roberts, admonished “the befitting institutions to ensure good usage and proper maintenance of the equipment in a manner that will ensure the medical equipment continue to be in the right state to serve everyone in need of services provided by these facilities “.
In the welcome address, the Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund, Dr. Bello Maigari, said: “This ground breaking event is one of the many of its kind since the beginning of our programme intervention in health in the last few years. Our plan is to cover the entire 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital, working to improve access to quality healthcare services and providing a platform that promotes highest standard of care to our rural people”.
He informed that 15 healthcare institutions, including medical centres across the six geo-political zones in the country were selected to benefit from the presentation of the healthcare equipment, being proceeds realized from lottery and gaming sector.
The high point of the occasion was the commissioning and handing over of the healthcare equipment which includes: medical waste incinerators, blood bank refrigerators, ambulances, wheelchairs cars, among others to beneficiaries.