PMB and ‘PTF’ model for Nigeria’s health sector
Then he was called General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB), I asked him two questions related to health and development at an interactive meeting between him as an ANPP Presidential Candidate and Nigerians that gathered at a conference hall of Imperial College London on Saturday 20th January 2007.
1. “If you become Nigeria’s President as a result of the February 2007 Election what health care financing innovation will you bring to our comatose health sector?”
2. “And if you couldn’t succeed to become Nigeria’s President in the February Election what are your postelection plans to support sustainable development in Nigeria”
President Buhari in a response to the 1st question had smartly suggested a direction and he said “My experience as the then Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) will help me to introduce an intervention in the health sector that will ensure adequate and available drugs via a special fund that will ensure efficient drug revolving scheme as well as improvement of decayed hospital infrastructure”
He didn’t respond to my 2nd question as I wanted as my aim then was to prepare his mind that in the eventuality, he didn’t become the Nigeria’s president in the February election would he be open to support non-governmental organizations and development partners working in health and development as a champion.
Here was GMB response verbatim to my 2nd question with a smile of course “I don’t like this question, I don’t like this question as by February 2007 Election I am the Nigeria’s President”.
He got a big applause from the audience but both he and the audience then missed the essence of my question and intervention. In a two part article after the meeting, I wrote on my experience titled “Buhari, 2007 and achieving the MDGs” published then in Daily Trust Newspaper and Gamji Website.
Now back to the present, those two questions raised in 2007 (eight years ago) and the issues discussed are back to the table of President Muhammad Buhari (PMB) and his planned health sector team as we are exploring the best model to revamp the health sector. Already the PMB transition committee’s report has provided insight in to the innovation being proposed which has some semblance to the ‘PTF’ model.
In the transition committee report under the submission of the Social Issues Sub Committee, a priority is proposed to support the implementation of National Health Act. It proposed what needed to be done by the government of President Buhari as follows; Set-up and operationalize the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and devolution of primary & secondary healthcare Facilities from Federal Governments to Local & State Governments as well as Private Sector. And also to create governance structure for the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund with a view to implementing leading standards of accountability and consistent performance reporting on the use and impact of the fund.
We need to pose here and ask PMB and his health team “to what extend what they are doing now willlead to realizing what was proposed?”
Another section of the transition report recommended prioritization of ‘Effective Private Sector Investment’ It recommended that the new government should enhance private sector participation in the health sector via Private Sector Intervention Fund. An example of Indian medical system was cited that was jump started by similar government assistance.This is another ‘PTF’ like model which is yet to commence and I am not even sure if discussion is already on -going to make it happen bearing in mind that the report recommended that within 1st `100 days of PMB, actions should kick start for that.
It is imperative for advocates to remind PMB what he said many years ago and to connect with the present all in effort to genuinely intervene towards a better health sector and a better society. Few days to his swearing in ceremony I published an article titled ‘May 29th; President Buhari please speak out on Health’in that article it was a dream inaugural speech of PMB which I will conclude this article with.
“My administration will provide a strong political leadership, accountability and transparency in the health sector as health is fundamental to national development. We will strive to reverse the unfortunate trend of unacceptable maternal and under-five deaths due to preventable diseases by investing in both preventive and curative medicine and by working with state and local governments, development partners and civil society organizations to improve human resources for health and ensure essential live saving drugs are available in all our facilities 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
“We are also committed to improving the fiscal space for health as we are aware of the challenges of adequate funding for Routine Immunization and what is needed for the final push to eradicate Polio in Nigeria. We will engage all interested stakeholders including the private sector to innovatively improve health care financing via public-private partnership and mobilizing more domestic resources. We should utilize funding from international development partners as complimentary not the main source of funding for our health sector.
“I am also committed to the full implementation of the recently signed National Health Act which provides a framework for reforming the health sector. Nigeria will take its leadership position in leading other African countries in providing innovative solutions to the myriad health problems in Nigeria and Africa in general. This we will achieve by meaningful engagement of African heads of states and international players at ECOWAS, African Union, World Health Assembly and United Nations.”
All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi, Publisher Health Reporters (firstname.lastname@example.org)