The Central Bank of Nigeria has urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors to collaborate to build a more healthy and robust healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the call at the launch of a movie, titled: “UNMASKED,” a feature documentary on leadership, trust and COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The movie was produced and directed by Femi Odugbemi, a Nigerian documentary filmmaker, and co-produced by Kadaria Ahmed, a renowned journalist, media entrepreneur and television host, on Friday in Lagos.
According to Emefiele, addressing the public health crisis along with the downturn in the economy required strong coordination.
He said the measures and interventions put in place by the CBN and private sector to improve government’s capacity response to the COVID-19 crisis was not enough to build a sustainable healthcare infrastructure.
Emefiele was represented by Osita Nwanisobi, acting Director, Corporate Communications.
He said: “Let me thank the organisers of this event for their efforts in calling our attention to the need to build a more healthy and robust healthcare infrastructure that can cater to the vast majority of Nigerians.
“This work will require the collaborative efforts of both public and private sector stakeholders.”
Emefiele said a study by the World Health Organisation revealed that only four per cent of Nigerians had access to healthcare insurance.
He said besides food, healthcare expenses was a significant component of the average Nigerian personal expenditure.
According to him, out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare amounted to close to 76 per cent of total healthcare expenditure.
He said at such level of health spending, individuals, particularly those in the rural communities, might be denied access to healthcare services.
Emefiele said one key aspect which would address this was improving access to healthcare for all Nigerians.
He said: “A key factor that has impeded access to healthcare for Nigerians is the prevailing cost of healthcare services.”
The CBN governor also advocated expansion of the insurance net to capture the pool of Nigerians not covered by the existing health insurance schemes.
According to him, this can help to reduce the high out of pocket expenses on healthcare services by Nigerians.
He said it would help to increase the pool of funds that could be invested in building our healthcare infrastructure and in improving the existing welfare package of our healthcare workers.
Emefiele said the private sector had a significant role to play in this regard given the decline in government revenues as occasioned by the drop in commodity prices.
The CBN governor also called for support for research and development in healthcare.
He said: “Given the challenges our nation faced as a result of the pandemic, it is indeed vital that all stakeholders work to building the capacity of our researchers and institutions to address domestic healthcare challenges.
“Strengthening collaboration and partnerships between researchers, public as well as private sector stakeholders across the country is crucial in enabling Nigeria to build a more robust and proactive healthcare infrastructure system.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged Nigerians to learn lessons from what COVID-19 had taught us and pass it on to the next generation.
Sanwo-Olu said the movie premiered showed that the problem of Nigeria was mainly from the people.
He said: “We are living testimonies of this, things have to get better in this country and we all have to change the narrative.
“Indeed that change that we desire, the pandemic has shown it to us.
“The structure of our governance needs to be changed.”
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, advised that the movie be pushed forward to the people in government, media and entertainment among others, to see and make a change so as to avoid another pandemic.
He added: “It’s not going to be a medical pandemic this time, it could be security pandemic, it could be a governance pandemic.”