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Government, Health

Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday assured Nigerians that the country’s health sector will come out stronger at the end of COVID-19 pandemic, going by efforts aimed at repositioning the sector.

Gbajabiamila said this when he received a report on stakeholders roundtable in the health sector, organised by the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs on in Abuja.

The report titled the `Green Book’, was a detailed documentation of sectorial engagements proffering solutions to challenges across the sector.

Gbajabiamila charged the House Committees on Health Institutions and Health Services to ensure that the house delivered on its contract with the Nigerian people with regards to healthcare service.

“So for me, it is a good start but the work has only just begun and the Health Committee and indeed the House have their work cutout, we have the legislative agenda, we have a contract with Nigerians and within that contract, we intend to tick boxes as we go along.

“I hope we will be able to tick the box in the health sector and tick it with a very thick ink, knowing that we have achieved what we set out to achieve in that sector.

“We have the Green Chambers and now we have the Green Book, we will continue with the greens sector by sector as we go along.

“It is instructive that the first one is on health, we all said it here, that the whole world was thrown into disarray with the advent of the COVID-19, even the most advanced democracies and the most developed heath sectors did not know what to do, they were caught napping.

“In our case in Nigeria, it brought out the under belly of the country, we did not even have a health sector, we only have a semblance of a health sector and I am very happy we were able to raise up to the challenges.

“It is not what will be fixed in one or two or three years, the deficit is so wide that it will take a number of years to fix it but the most important thing is that we have started and we are on the right track and I believe if we continue on this track, I believe at some point Nigeria we will get there at some point.

“Within two weeks, I inspected two major facilities in Lagos, a cancer centre, you need to go there, you cannot find anything better in the world and another hospital in Lekki and am opening another one in April.

“So out of the pandemic, something has come up that is of immense benefit to Nigerians, it is unfortunate that it took that but it is one thing to be caught napping and not do anything about it and is another thing to be caught napping and fix the problem and that is what exactly we are trying to do,’’ he said.

Gbajabiamila said that 9th House of Representatives has acted like no other house, describing the house as pace setter in starting a revolutionary change in certain areas.

According to him, the reason we are delighted is that we hope that the 10th, 11th and 12th assembly will build upon what we have done and do even be better but we will lay claim to being the foundation for the revolutionary achievement.

Presenting the report, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) said to achieve the legislative agenda of the house, the committee had successfully released the 3rd edition of the Green Magazine.

Kalu said that while the Green Magazine highlighted the activity of the house and its members, the Green Book was a detailed documentation of sectorial engagements aimed at addressing issues across all sectors.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Rep. Yusuf Sununu, thanked the Speaker for his commitment to the health sector and for giving the committee the opportunity to find solutions to some of the challenges in the sector.

The Director, Advocacy for Civic Engagement Centre, Mr Obinna Osisiogu, whose organisation was one of the CSOs at the forefront of the engagement, expressed confidence that the roundtable would go a long way to address health sector problems in the country.



The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has assured Nigerians that it will continue to provide vital information relating to the AstraZeneca vaccine recently approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

The Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

The NAFDAC recently approved the vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, to tackle the coronavirus disease ravaging many parts of the world.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had said that the vaccine would be made available to Nigeria before the end of February.


Adeyeye was reacting to questions making rounds on whether the vaccine, when made available, could be given to pregnant and lactating women, the aged and those below 18 years.

Nigerians also wanted to know if people with health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, among others, could take the vaccine.

While approving the vaccine on Feb. 18, Adeyeye said the vaccine had been scrutinised for holistic approach for effective immunisation by the NAFDAC Vaccine Committee.

The director general, however, added that the vaccine was only approved for “Emergency Use Authorisation”, meaning that the product was still under development.

She said that information on whether breastfeeding or pregnant women could also take the vaccine had not yet been confirmed.

She explained that “we base our judgement on the findings of the NAFDAC Vaccine Committee; the vaccine specified 18 years and above.

“People with underlying health conditions can also take it but must be under watch.

“Even the Indian Government that first got the vaccine says the product can be given to people with past history of COVID-19.”

The NAFDAC boss said the agency would continue to get more data about the vaccine, review it and notify the public.


Energy, Health, LIFE STYLE

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged officers in the State’s public service to uphold trust as key element of public administration while discharging their statutory duties.

The Governor said all public officers, regardless of segments of service, owed the public a duty to perform their responsibilities with trust and integrity.

Sanwo-Olu spoke while inaugurating members of the Judicial Service Commission, Health Service Commission and Board of the State-owned Ibile Oil and Gas Corporation (IOGC) at the State House, Alausa, on Tuesday.

The Governor said the underlying responsibility of public officers must be to deploy their expertise in attaining overall public good. He charged the newly sworn in members of the statutory commissions and the corporation’s Board to consider people and the State’s interests as overriding priorities in their decisions.

He said: “I congratulate the newly inaugurated chairmen and members of the Health Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and the Board of Ibile Oil and Gas Corporation, who have been privileged to have been nominated and subsequently confirmed fit and proper by the House of Assembly to occupy various positions into which you have just been inaugurated.

“I cannot emphasise enough the fact that you all have been called upon to serve the government and people of the State. The implication of this is that, the interest of the State and the people must always be the overriding consideration in all your recommendations and decisions. Public office is a trust and we owe it a duty to discharge that trust with utmost sense of responsibility.”

Sanwo-Olu stressed the need by the Service Commissions to ensure due diligence was strictly followed in recruitment, promotion, discipline and career management processes in their respective ministries, while also charging them to make justice and fairness their watchwords in addressing matters that will be brought before them for consideration.

Sanwo-Olu said: “As members of Health and Judicial Service Commissions, your actions or inactions will have a significant impact on the quality of healthcare and of justice available in Lagos, not just in the immediate future but for a long time to come. This realisation should guide your conduct and decision-making.

“The new Board of IOGC comprises knowledgeable and experienced personalities, and my expectation of the Board is to deepen the viability of the corporation and strategically position it as a leader in the Oil and Gas Industry. It must be managed to yield good returns on investment through significant contribution to the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) on a sustainable basis.”

He equally admonished the Board to promote good corporate governance in the management of the affairs of the corporation, which was established in 2013, following the discovery of crude oil in Badagry area of the State.

Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said the constitution of the commissions’ membership and that of the Board was in line with extant laws of the State to promote fairness, justice and transparency.

He urged the appointees to bring their wealth of experience to bear in discharging their duties.

Speaking on behalf of all the appointees, chairman of the Health Service Commission, Dr. Muyinat Onayiga assured they would justify the confidence reposed in them by the Governor.

Members of the Health Service Commission are Mrs Kemi Ogunyemi, Dr. Mobolaji Olukoya, Dr. Olumuyiwa Solanke, and Mrs. Adepeju Muyibat Adeleye (to be confirmed by Assembly).

The Judicial Service Commission is chaired by the Chief Judge of Lagos, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba. Other members are Attorney General of the State Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, Mr. Olasupo Ati-John, Mrs. Bamidele Akinyemi, Mr. Lateef Kareem, and Mr. Mahmud Dawodu.

The IOGC Board is chaired by Commissioner for Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote. Other members are Mr. Abdul-Ahmed Mustapha, Mr. Wole Ogunsanya, Mr. Tokunbo Ishmeal, Mr. Goke Adeniyi, Omolara Cudjoe-Alakija and Doyin Akinyanju.


Health, ICT

InStrat Global Health Solutions, an indigenous health technology company has partnered with the Ogun State government to deploy its MedStrat Health Insurance Management System to support the State’s Contributory Health Insurance Scheme. InStrat Global Health Solutions has been providing mobile health insurance services to the Federal Government of Nigeria and several State Governments since 2010.

MedStrat HIS is a fully home-grown health insurance management system developed to comply with Nigeria’s Contributory Health Insurance Management Laws. MedStrat HIS fully automates ALL contributory health insurance processes especially claims processing and supports paper-based back up processes where internet is not available. The functionalities include electronic beneficiary enrollment via a mobile application, website or at an enrolment center, and beneficiary management; health facility enrollment and management, electronic claims submission and processing; and real time reporting. Communication with beneficiaries and providers are by SMS (e.g., upon enrollment), and by email. MedStrat HIS incorporates multi step approvals for most processes to increase integrity and oversight of approval decisions. Multiple plan types are supported, and Providers will verify enrolled Beneficiaries’ Plan to confirm services they are entitled to and provide only those services. Services and drug lists and tariffs exist for all services as well as those for which Prior Authorizations are necessary.

Access to affordable health care continues to be a challenge for most Nigerians due to high level of poverty and significant reliance on out-of-pocket payment. The quest to provide efficient and effective healthcare delivery system prompted the Nigerian government to review its health policies, which birthed the establishment of the Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS, a framework for the provision of affordable and efficient health care system. The scheme therefore protects people from the financial hardships occasioned by large and unexpected medical bills. Nigerian States, under the guidance of the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS has adopted the use of health insurance schemes to meet the health care challenges of their people especially the middle and low-income earners.

Ogun State in South West Nigeria has signed into law the establishment of a Health Insurance Agency, Ogun State Health Insurance Agency (OGSHIA) to manage the health Insurance schemes which cuts across every sector of the State. Different health schemes have been put in place which would cater for different classes of its residents. This includes the Public Servants, Organized Private Sector, Informal Sector, Vulnerable Group, and the Federal Government driven Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) Schemes.

Ogun State Health Insurance Agency kicked off the use of Instrat MedStrat on the 14th of January 2021 at Ikenne Primary Health Center, Ikenne LGA capturing enrollees from different wards. Present at the kickoff were the Honorable Commissioner of Health Dr. Tomi Coker, Ogun State, the Executive Secretary Ogun State Health Insurance Agency OGSHIA, Staff of the Agency, National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS representatives, National Identity Management Commission NIMC representatives and InStrat Global Health Solutions.  About 697 beneficiaries have been captured so far in the two LGAs, Ikenne and Odeda LGAs in the state. The Honorable Commissioner of Health Dr. Tomi Coker, Ogun State stated that the state is delighted to partner with Instrat Global Health Solutions and are adequately prepared to use technology to improve the access utilization of healthcare services within the state.


Economy, Health, ICT

The Lagos State Government has disclosed that the experience gained and lessons learnt, during the outbreak of Ebola and COVID-19 pandemic (first-wave) in the State, had prepared the present administration for the second wave of the disease, just as it also unveiled plans to deploy more technology to critical sectors to improve productivity and wellbeing of residents.

The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, spoke about these issues on Wednesday, during a joint appearance on a TVC News programme titled: “Business Nigeria”.

Prof. Abayomi said the Y2021 budgetary allocation to the health sector was increased to address the challenges posed by the epidemic and other issues, stressing that the amount estimated for the sector was a significant improvement when compared to the allocation for the previous year.

He added that challenges of the second wave and community spread of the COVID-19 still remain a major hindrance to the present administration’s health sector objectives, noting that Lagos has the highest incidence of Coronavirus cases in Nigeria despite the increased level of sensitisation to educate residents on complying with safety protocols such as wearing face masks and physical distancing.

While decrying the flagrant disregard for all safety rules and regulations by a majority of Lagosians, the Commissioner averred that the high number of recorded cases is creating additional pressure on healthcare facilities in Lagos.

Speaking on the government’s resolve to ensure that the residents of Lagos have equal access to an enhanced healthcare delivery system, Abayomi urged citizens to take advantage of the benefits offered, through the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme (LASHMA), by subscribing to the initiative.

“Healthcare is very expensive, but having the Health Insurance Scheme will drastically reduce the cost of medical care during visits to the hospital when ill. The Lagos Health Insurance Scheme was designed specifically to reduce the financial cost of healthcare on all residents in the State and it is advisable for Lagosians to subscribe to the scheme”, he advised.

On his part, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, said the spending plan for Y2020 turned out well, as the year closed with a budget performance rate of 88%, stressing that the Y2021 Budget focusses on Human Capital, Education and Health sector in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration’s vision of building a 21stCentury Economy as encapsulated in the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda

He averred that technology expenditure in this year’s budget witnessed an increased allocation as the government is investing heavily on infrastructure which will cover about 3000-kilometres in form of a broadband ring around the State, as part of efforts to achieve the smart-city initiative of the present administration.

The Commissioner said, “In the 2021 Budget, technology allocation has increased dramatically due to the broadband infrastructure that includes the laying of 3000-kilometres broadband around Lagos. In addition, we are putting up a smart city initiative for security because if the people are healthy and educated but feel unsafe, then they will still be unproductive”.

Egube explained that the broadband security infrastructure would allow the government to install 2000 intelligent cameras having facial and number plate recognition, which will be monitored at a command centre for enhanced security in Lagos, adding that this initiative will also be extended to the health sector through the digitisation of medical records and access to medical care on the State’s telemedicine platform.