The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has advocated for the establishment of a Health Development Bank of Nigeria to tackle the perennial challenges facing the nation’s health sector
The non governmental organisation (NGO) made the call on Thursday at an advocacy engagement which brought stakeholders across the country to Abuja to discuss the state of the nation’s health sector.
The Lead Director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere
in his opening remark said the call was
premised on the poor funding of the health sector across the tiers of government; the low absorptive capacity of the Federal Ministry of Health; the equipment, infrastructure and technology needs of the sector and the need to tie investments to results.
He noted that the need for establishment of the Health Development Bank of Nigeria has also become imperative in order to respond to growing health tourism; repositioning the pharmaceutical, medical devices and equipment industry; facilitating private sector service delivery; the need to develop critical human resources for health competencies; enhancing sustainability and credibility of health financing; and improving health sector contribution to job creation, taxes and GDP.
Onyekpere said the Health Bank will provide equity capital and funds by way of single digit interest loans to Nigerian public and private health institutions, establishments and organisations for short, medium and long-term investments in the health sector at such rates and upon such terms as may be determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with best practices in development banking policy.
He revealed that with the bank would make fund available for the establishment and improving the state of the art reference hospitals and highly efficient mono-specialty hospitals; allow for facilities upgrade, health supporting infrastructure such as power, clean water and sanitation; provide for laboratories, diagnostics equipment, maintenance and infrastructure; improve information and communications technology connectivity that supports improved health information systems, mobile services and digital health solutions; help emerging technologies, and innovative approaches to healthcare delivery including use of drones to supply blood and other health inputs, virtual outpatient platforms, etc;
He also added that it would lead to equitable provider payment mechanisms and systems to promote access to health care by creating incentives to improve health service delivery, quality and efficiency; help in the manufacture and production of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, especially to improve upstream research and production, production of intermediaries and active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients; improve local manufacturing and production of health devices, supplies and technologies; assist in health research funding in critical areas to be determined by the National Health Research Committee;
The Lead Director also said this would help in outsourcing of specialized services and public private partnerships including service level agreements guaranteeing drugs and commodities in a universal health coverage environment; promoting low carbon health service delivery infrastructure and climate resilient health facilities leveraging technology and innovation; training and development of critical but unavailable human resource competencies in health including biomedical sciences and engineering; and developing health financing advisory services to enhance equity, value for money and fitness of purpose in the health sector.
The CSJ in conjunction with other stakeholders is working on a Bill for an Act to establish the Health Development Bank of Nigeria to provide medium- and long-term sustainable credit facilities to health institutions in Nigeria, to facilitate and promote the establishment, improvement and upgrade of health infrastructure and services and for other related matters