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The new national health plan

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) last week approved a new five-year National Health Strategic Plan 2, which is expected to gulp the sum of N6.07tn.
The plan, which was ratified at the National Council on Health meeting in Kano in June this year, essentially has five strategic pillars and 15 priority areas.
The five strategic pillars include: enabling environment for our attainment of health sector good, increased utilisation of essential package of healthcare services, strengthening our health system, and protection from health emergencies as well as health financing.

Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, said the health sector plan involved the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. He said the previous Plan 1 covered 2010 to 2015, while the new Plan 2 would cover 2018 to 2022. The N6.071tn project is slated to achieve a 31 per cent reduction in maternal mortality.
According to him, “We believe that if this funding is done, if the plans are implemented faithfully, we will achieve a 31 per cent reduction in maternal mortality. We will achieve 33 per cent reduction in horizontal mortality and attain mortality reduction of 29 per cent.”

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He added, “There was an attempt to come up with a plan between 2010 and 2015. That plan had 52 targets but regrettably, we were only able to achieve two of the 52 targets. So, we spent a long time, trying to put in place the second plan.”

It is really shocking to hear that a project set to address 52 critical areas and conceived nearly a decade ago could only succeed in two. This is really scandalous and shows our disdain to health care delivery to millions of Nigerians who are dying daily due to avoidable ailments.
The health indicators in Nigeria remain dismal when compared with other developing countries and this is shameful considering the budgetary allocations being made to the sector without commensurate results.

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We recall that the document that encapsulated the National

Strategic Health Development Plan Framework (2009- 2015) which woefully failed, was conceived in 2009 and signed by the then Minister of Health, Prof Babatunde Osotimehin along with all state governors, and the representatives of multilateral and bilateral development partners.

Thus, nobody, including strategic partners, will trust any document going by the name strategic plan 2 without being convinced as to why the first strategic plan failed, and who were responsible for its failure, whether they were sanctioned or not. Questions must also be asked whether monies meant for the project were adequately included in the appropriations of targeted years and whether there were releases.

In the first place, reasons advanced for coming up with the strategic plan was to enable governments address seven strategic thrusts revolving around stewardship role; management of the national health system; the burden of disease; mobilization and utilization of health resources; health service delivery; consumer awareness and community involvement; partnership, collaboration and coordination.

Those saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the second phase of the programme must rise to the occasion.
In 2017, the health minister reportedly said despite the current rating of Nigeria as second to last nation on the Maternal Mortality index scale in Africa, it is possible for the country to achieve a below 100 ratio by the year 2030 and 300 maternal mortality rate in 2018.

This, he said, is likely if the government can strengthen the various social intervention programmes, noting that there is a strong correlation between maternal mortality and level of social and economic development of any country.
We look forward to achieving this as there is no time for delay anymore.

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