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Tinubu seeks collaboration for improved healthcare in Africa Quit if you can’t solve Nigeria’s problems, PDP govs tell APC

President Bola Tinubu on Saturday said addressing Africa’s health sector challenges would require states to forge partnerships that transcend borders and sectors, leveraging collective expertise, knowledge, resources and the private sector.

Tinubu who spoke in his capacity as the newly-appointed African Union Health Champion made this call at the Ministerial Executive Leadership Programme on the margins of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He argued that Africa’s effective collaboration with the rest of the world to tackle existential health challenges is not merely a strategic choice, but a moral imperative.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed the details of Tinubu’s discussion in a statement titled ‘President Tinubu as AU Health Champion: transnational collaboration essential for addressing complex challenges in healthcare.’

Tinubu noted that the challenges confronting the continent are too complex and multifaceted for any one entity to tackle alone.

He explained, “Together, we can catalyse meaningful change and unlock new opportunities for innovation and impact in our continent. Not Africa in isolation, but a global Africa, engaged in respectful and well-considered partnerships with the rest of the world.

“Our continent still grapples with numerous health issues that require urgent attention. Infectious diseases remain a significant burden, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and cholera, and threats of re-emerging infectious diseases that can devastate communities and entire economies.

“Access to essential healthcare services remains limited, especially in many rural areas, due to factors such as inadequate infrastructure, financial barriers, and more seriously, an acute shortage of trained manpower that is aggravated by workforce migration to wealthier countries.”

“Noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, are on the rise in our continent, further straining healthcare systems that are already struggling to cope. There remains the critical need to address maternal and child health, as high maternal and child mortality rates continue to claim precious lives,” he added.

He reasoned that addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach involving robust investments in healthcare infrastructure, training, re-training, skilled manpower retention, improving access to essential medicines and promoting preventive healthcare measures.

Tinubu linked Africa’s capacity to successfully address these problems with its ability to adopt a whole-of-government approach, recognising that health outcomes are intrinsically linked to a myriad of socio-economic factors.

“For instance, a healthy population is essential for a thriving economy as it leads to increased productivity and reduced healthcare costs.

“Similarly, education plays a crucial role in improving health outcomes by empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being,” he noted.

While describing healthcare professionals as the backbone of any healthcare system, he said governments must invest not only in training them but also in creating conducive environments that enable healthcare professionals to thrive.

Therefore, community health delivery must be the cornerstone of Africa’s efforts, fostering partnerships with local stakeholders and empowering individuals to take charge of their health, he added.

He also opined that the true measure of the continent’s success lies in its ability to reach the most vulnerable members of its communities.

Tinubu explained, “In our quest for universal health coverage, equity must be our central guiding principle. Health disparities, rooted in socio-economic inequality, gender discrimination, geographic isolation, and other systemic injustices, demand political will and targeted interventions to address them.

“We must listen to the voices of marginalised communities, amplifying their concerns and aspirations as we strive to build more prosperous, just, and inclusive societies.”

In Nigeria, the President said his administration is making significant efforts to enhance healthcare accessibility, affordability and quality for all citizens, irrespective of socio-economic standing.

“This initiative is driven by a multi-faceted approach focusing on strengthening leadership and governance within the health sector, optimising quality service delivery for efficiency and effectiveness,” he clarified.

Tinubu revealed that the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative he launched last December stands as a pioneering endeavour, deployed through a Sector-Wide Approach, to improve health outcomes at scale.

He said the initiative is strategically crafted to swiftly improve health indicators and unlock the economic potential embedded within Nigeria’s healthcare value chain.

Its mission is to unleash the nation’s human capital, alongside the potential economic boon that has been long dormant in the healthcare sector.

“The Federal Government, under my leadership, has already signed a Compact with State Governments and Development partners in this multi-stakeholder effort to improve health in Nigeria,” the President affirmed.

Therefore, President Tinubu urged Africa’s leaders to commit to concrete actions and policies that will drive positive change in healthcare delivery within their respective countries and regions, declaring: “Together, we can build a prosperous, healthier, more equitable future, for all Africans, in line with Agenda 2063.”

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