Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said on Tuesday in Abuja that Nigeria would end malaria mortality by 2020.
The minister stated this at a town hall meeting and policy dialogue for good governance jointly organised by the Alumni Association of the National Institute and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Adewole said: “We have set some time frame for ourselves. We are committed to reducing maternal mortality before the life span of this administration. We want to end malaria mortality by the end of 2020.”
Adewole said government was on the verge of putting in place a new health policy for the country.
He recalled that attempts had been made twice, in 1988 and 2004, to develop a health policy for the nation.
He said: “This year, government is designing a new health policy deliberately captured to promote the health of Nigerians to accelerate socio-economic development.
“We want to make a statement that when we improve the health of the people, we can engender socio-economic development.”
The minister said the 2016 budget features three prominent areas in the health sector – immunisation, management of disease outbreak, maternal and child mortality.
He said government is committed to ensuring accountability, transparency and reducing inefficiency in the health sector.
Adewole said government was also looking beyond the budget and had secured a $500 million loan from the World Bank to address maternal and child mortality.
In utilising the fund, the minister said the Federal Government would partner with the states.
He said: “The loan will be accessible to states but with close assessment and monitoring to ensure its proper usage for maternal health, child birth, malarial, nutrition, immunisation and contraception.
“States that perform well on the indicators will be given more money.”
Besides, the minister said government launched a new programme called: “Better Health for All Nigerians,” an initiative for taking care of the poor people.
He said through the programme, government will offer free surgery to the poor, screen 500,000 for diabetes and hypertension, 40,000 for hepatitis, 40,000 for cervical cancer and 20,000 for breast cancer.
He said the programme would also be used to handle the nutritional emergency in Borno State.
Adewole said seven tertiary health institutions have been selected for upgrade to handle cancer, renal and cardiac problems, which takes many patients abroad.
He said the step would help to reverse medical tourism, which is costing the country over $1 billion annually on capital flight.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a contribution at the town hall meeting, said: “Nigeria is a mineral rich nation, but not a mining nation.”
Fayemi said the ugly trend was because the country abandoned mining in the better parts of the last 40 years.
The minister said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to changing the trend with its economic diversification programme.
Fayemi said government will support investors in the mining sector to ensure it takes vantage position in economic diversification programme.
He also disclosed that the government is working on a full data of available mineral resources that investors can access on-line.