Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Tunji Alausa, has said the health sector can increase its share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from less than 6% to about 15%.
In an exclusive interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Alausa said the federal government was working on several initiatives to improve the quality and accessibility of health services and attract investments in the sector.
He noted that the government was also planning to set up medical industrialization hubs in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country and to mobilise more funds from both domestic and international sources.
He explained that the basic healthcare provision fund, which is one percent of the consolidated revenue, was not enough to meet the needs of the large population, and that there was a need to coordinate better with the development partners who were spending more money on various health programs.
“Let’s coordinate in a more parallel manner where we can begin to pull more funds into our primary healthcare setting, into our national health insurance, so that we can have more funds to deliver more high-quality services to Nigerians,” he said.
He added that the health sector renewal investment initiative, which was launched last year, was aimed at unlocking the value chain in the health sector and transforming it from a consuming part of the economy to a more growth-driven part of the economy.
He also disclosed that the 2024 budget has the highest allocation for healthcare that the country had seen in the last decade, with more money earmarked for infrastructural improvement, equipment upgrades, cancer centres, and new hospitals.
He attributed the achievement to President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to the health sector. He assured that the government would strive to achieve the 15% target of the GDP for health, as recommended by the African Union.
“His commitment to the healthcare sector. But is it up to 15%? No, but actually more than 5%. I can promise you that we will get to that 15% because we started very well with the significant amount of money that is budgeted for health in 2024,” he said.