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President Tinubu To Issue Executive Order Cutting Drug Prices In Nigeria

President Tinubu has vowed to issue an executive order cutting drug prices in Nigeria.

 

NaijaOnPoint Nigeria reports that an Executive Order to “significantly reduce the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products” in the country will soon be signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

 

Also, a $1 billion grant has been secured by the Federal Government from Afriexim Bank and foreign partners for medical industrialisation.

 

Health and Social Welfare Minister Muhammed Pate stated these yesterday during the second edition of the Ministerial Press Briefing Series in Abuja.

 

 

Prices of drugs have risen astronomically in recent months due to the forex crisis.

Pate added at the briefing attended by his Information and National Orientation counterpart, Mohammed Idris, that the Tinubu administration had warehoused N50 billion in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), for the rehabilitation and expansion of the nation’s Primary Health Care (PHC) centres.

 

Pate, who said the exodus of many Nigerian medical professionals should not be viewed from a negative prism, confirmed the recruitment of 2,497 medical doctors, nurses, midwives and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) to bridge the gap in the health sector and enhance service delivery.

 

The minister also said the exit of some multinational drug firms like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi , was being looked into by the government.

He said: “An Executive Order will soon be issued to curb escalating drug prices in the short-term, while our mid to long-term goal involves the domestication of imported drugs within the next three years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade.

 

“In a strategic move to fortify the pharmaceutical infrastructure across the nation, the Federal Government initiated the construction of pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states in collaboration with Drug Management Agencies.

“Two additional warehouses at the federal level are also underway, complemented by the installation of the Warehousing Management Information System (WMIS) – M Supply, in these 21 pharma-grade warehouses.

 

“This visionary project commenced in October 2023 and is slated for completion in March 2024, with a scheduled commissioning in April 2024.

 

“I am also pleased to announce that the ministry has secured a $1 billion pledge from Afriexim bank, alongside commitments from foreign partners, to support our endeavours in this regard.

 

“The Federal Government will be releasing N50 billion as the first tranche of the Basic Healthcare Fund, a significant increase from N25 billion allocated in 2022.

“This infusion of funds will breathe new life into our primary healthcare facilities, ensuring that quality care is accessible to all citizens.

 

“To sustain and continue to build on these gains, in the last six months, the Government recruited 2,497 Doctors, Midwives/Nurses, and CHEWs to bridge the gaps due to attrition.

 

“An additional 1,400 health facilities now have Skilled Birth Attendants to assist in deliveries at the health facilities. This has increased the number of health facility deliveries to as high as 230,000 deliveries per month.

“The Federal Government has made substantial strides in expanding health insurance coverage.

“Recognising that financial barriers often deter individuals from seeking medical care, we have worked tirelessly to increase the accessibility and affordability of health insurance schemes.

 

“By supporting enrollment initiatives and streamlining administrative processes, we have extended coverage to millions of Nigerians, safeguarding them against the financial hardships associated with healthcare expenses.

 

“Since the beginning of this administration, we have enrolled about 750,000 more Nigerians in health insurance. We remain committed to providing access to quality health for all Nigerians through the Vulnerable Group Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

 

“The implementation of WMIS is expected to significantly enhance accountability and transparency, ensuring the potency of public health medicines and other health commodities.

 

“This infrastructure development aligns with our commitment to improving health outcomes for citizens nationwide.

“Furthermore, our efforts to promote medical industrialisation are gaining momentum.

“Through strategic partnerships and funding initiatives, we are unlocking the full potential of our healthcare sector.

 

“Through robust vaccination campaigns and outreach programmes, we have achieved significant strides in sustaining immunisation coverage nationwide, safeguarding our communities, particularly our children, from devastating diseases.

 

“Notably, our swift response to the diphtheria outbreak underscored our commitment to proactive disease control measures, swiftly containing the spread and saving countless lives.

 

“Since the inception of the Diphtheria response, over 5 million children have been immunised with the Penta vaccine and 10 million children with TB vaccines.

 

“In our ongoing efforts to combat the threat of Lassa fever, I am pleased to announce the comprehensive measures taken by the Federal Government to enhance response capabilities and safeguard the health of Nigerians.

 

“To strengthen our response to Lassa Fever outbreaks, the Federal Government has embarked on the distribution of essential response commodities to states and treatment centres across the nation especially in affected states.

 

“I am delighted to announce the successful coverage of HPV vaccination. Since the launch of the HPV vaccine in October 2023 across 15 states plus the FCT(Federal Capital Territory), we have successfully vaccinated more than 4.95 million eligible girls aged nine to 14 years representing 80 percent of eligible girls.

 

“The Phase 2 introduction is scheduled for May 2024 in Anambra, Borno, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Rivers, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Plateau and Zamfara.

 

“Pre-implementation activities have commenced to ensure a successful Phase 2 introduction of a crucial milestone in our ongoing efforts to combat cervical cancer.

 

“By prioritising preventive measures and expanding access to life-saving vaccines, we are taking proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of our women and girls, ensuring a healthier future for generations to come.”

On the departure of foreign companies, Pate emphasised the Federal government’s determination to capitalise on this opportunity.

 

He said: “The rising cost of pharmaceuticals is a pressing concern, and we are taking decisive action to address this issue.

He explained that the demand for Nigerian medical personnel abroad was a testament to their global competitiveness, stemming from quality training.

 

He, however, assured that the government was dedicated to retaining its healthcare workforce

The minister said: “Our commitment to enhancing tertiary healthcare services remains steadfast.

“Twelve tertiary hospitals/centres have been earmarked for infrastructure development, including the establishment of Oncology centres, radiology centres, and diagnostics facilities.

 

“These investments will enhance our capacity to provide specialised care and meet the evolving healthcare needs of our people

 

“In collaboration with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we have taken proactive steps to address the shortage of healthcare professionals.

 

“By increasing the number of medical students admitted to medical schools, we are boosting the healthcare workforce and laying the groundwork for a healthier future.”

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