By Haruna Gimba
The Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, has called on the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, to establish the governing council of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Dr Magashi stated this while giving a remark at the official unveiling of the NHIA Operational Guidelines in Abuja.
He urged the minister to work with the heads of health agencies to establish and inaugurate the governing boards of all the health agencies especially the NHIA, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPCHDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Department (NIPRD) and National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) among others.
According to him, constituting of the governing council of the health agencies will promote oversight functions and strengthen accountability and transparency.
Magashi also called on Prof. Pate to reactivate the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) ministerial oversight committee and be convening its quarterly meetings and reassign CSO representative to the committee in line with the NHAct.
“We should also use the existing BHCPF accountability framework to engage regularly the three gateways to review, monitor and take remedial actions related to BHCPF.
“There is also need to reactivate the existing regular press conference at the Federal Ministry of Health with health journalists that provides a platform for the two ministers, heads of departments and heads of health agencies to update regularly on their programmes and initiatives,” he said.
Health Reporters report that the Friday meeting also brainstormed on the possibility of the coordinating minister of health to be convening townhall meetings across six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
“This meeting serves as a scorecard to review performance and elicit feedback from critical stakeholders across the country.”
Our correspondent reports that the briefing was supported by the AHBN in collaboration with the federal ministry of health.
The AHBN coordinator committed to support the initiative, even though the townhall idea is new with no specific funding, “however, we are pledging to support fundraising within the development community if the townhall is a viable tool for the minister to be engaging with Nigerians,” Dr Magashi added.
Responding, Prof. Pate who also attended the event, commended the AHBN for their commitment in the health sector over the years. He pledged to act on the recommendations made by Dr Aminu Magashi.
“We received your recommendations and we will act,” Prof. Pate said.