Tinubu begs Nigerian doctors abroad to return
President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, said his administration was prioritising and improving Nigeria’s health sector through massive investments and an increased allocation of funds to the sector in the proposed 2024 budget.
He, therefore, appealed to Nigerian health workers practising abroad to “sacrifice their time to come back home and serve their people.”
This was as he implored countries poaching Nigerian health workers to consider the interest of Nigeria.
Tinubu made the call on Tuesday at the unveiling of Nigeria’s Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative at the State House, Abuja.
Describing health as a fundamental human right, Tinubu announced plans for a comprehensive revamp of physical infrastructure, equipment and the re-training of frontline health workers starting in 2024.
“Nigeria’s commitment to achieving Universal Health Care Coverage is reflected in the unwavering dedication of my administration to uphold this right for every individual, young or old, in rural or urban areas,” the President said
Tuesday’s event was part of activities marking Universal Health Coverage Day, observed annually on December 12.
It also saw federal, state governments and development partners sign the Health Renewal Compact.
Tinubu said, “Delivering improved quality health is an underpinning factor in my promise of Renewed Hope to Nigerians. That hope is ignited here today with the support of all multilateral partners and agencies; health is back on the front burner.
“This occasion marks an opportunity for collective reflection and action as we recommit ourselves to the noble pursuit of health for all.”
To address the high cost of healthcare, the President revealed plans to redesign the Basic Health Care Provision Fund to enhance access to essential health care services as outlined in the National Health Act (2014).
Tinubu boasted that Nigeria remained a rallying point for the best minds in the medical profession, prompting his administration to allocate a substantial sum for the sector in the 2024 budget currently before the National Assembly.
“We encourage those Nigerian health professionals in the Diaspora, just like Professor Ali Pate and Tunji Alausa have done, to sacrifice their time to come back home and serve their people. Consider your contributions here at home, as we say, ‘Charity begins at home’.
“For the developed countries who benefited from amazing talents of Nigerian health workers, we’ll really encourage them to consider how to support the expansion of training facilities in Nigeria to replace those that they have recruited from here. You should also look at the short and long-term opportunities that we offer.
Yes, we have a vibrant, well-educated society, but we need Nigeria to rise on one side with climate change and drop the health system to decay. We will rise.”
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, who highlighted several key policy actions of the administration in the health sector, explained that the BHCPF had been redesigned as the foundational basis for a sector-wide approach.
Consequently, the BHCPF, comprising at least one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, is expected to receive at least $2.5bn in pooled and non-pooled financing from 2024 to 2026 to improve the primary health system nationwide.
Pate rehashed the planned doubling of fully functional Primary Healthcare Centres from 8,809 to 17,618 by 2027 across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, adding that these PHCs will be linked to a comprehensive emergency care system.
He stated, “Thanks to Mr. President, the Federal Government is making significant investments in health infrastructure and equipment for our hospitals, as well as the provision of critical commodities, the expansion of health insurance, alongside heightened attention to the welfare of the health workforce.”