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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the inability of the government to address various health challenges in the country has resulted in increasing medical tourism in which the nation loses over N400 billion on annual bases.

Buhari disclosed this on the occasion of the inauguration of the Senior Executive Course 41, 2019 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies(NIPSS) Kuru, Jos South LGA of Plateau State with the theme “Funding Universal Health Care Delivery in Nigeria”

The President, who was represented by Governor Simon Lalong, said government has shown strong commitment in the revitalization of the health sector.

Adding that inspite of this, the sector was still characterized by low response to public health emergencies, inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.

“Government has shown strong commitment in the revitalization of the health sector. These efforts notwithstanding, our health sector is still characterized by low response to the public health emergencies, inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.

“This has resulted in increasing medical tourism by Nigerians in which Nigeria loses N400 billion on annual basis,” he lamented.

According to the President, his government had in January this year flagged off Primary Healthcare Revitalization Programme with the aim of having 10,000 functional primary healthcare facilities with at least one functional healthcare facility in every political ward across the country.

He said the programme was expected to focus more on the rural areas with particular attention given to vulnerable populations such as women, children under five years of age and elders in collaboration with international development partners adding that the essence of the programme was to ensure that quality basic healthcare services were delivered to the majority of Nigerians across the country irrespective of their locations.

Buhari added that the administration has also launched the 2nd National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018-2022 adding that the plan was the health sector plan for achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria adding that this has seen disbursement of funds to high performing states under the save One million Lives Programme for Results (SOML-P for R)

The President who said the government has high expectations of the nominees of Senior Executive Course No 41, 2019 given the critical role of the health sector to the economy; tasked the participants to research carefully into the theme in order to proffer policy options that will enable government improve health sector funding.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Acting Director General of NIPSS, Jonathan Juma, said during the 10 months duration of the course the participants will be exposed to the highest levels of intellectual and cross fertilizing discourse aimed at sharpening their understanding of national issues and widening their perspective and quality of discernment.

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