In a pivotal moment for Nigeria’s healthcare system, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has issued a clarion call for enhanced collaboration between the federal and state governments to combat the myriad challenges plaguing the nation’s health infrastructure.
This appeal was made by UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Rownak Khan, during the induction of newly appointed Commissioners of Health in Nigeria under the theme “Navigating Health Leadership: From Promise to Impact,” held in Abuja.
Khan emphasised that effective coordination at both the federal and state levels is imperative for Nigeria to address its numerous health system challenges effectively and sustainably.
UNICEF firmly believes that without policy and implementation alignment between national and subnational entities, genuine progress in the healthcare sector will remain elusive.
She underscored the significance of the signals emanating from the coordinating minister of health and social welfare, as well as various health commissioners, as they point to a unique opportunity for innovation and efficiency in tackling the health sector’s multifaceted problems.
“We look forward to the concretization of the government’s strategic direction in the health sector, especially the Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) proposed by the coordinating minister as a way of maximising the impact of development assistance to the country,” noted Khan, speaking on behalf of UNICEF.
In a display of commitment to this cause, Khan pledged UNICEF’s unwavering support to the federal and state ministries of health in further elaborating, implementing, and monitoring this and other policy initiatives.
She stressed that one of UNICEF’s top priorities is the strengthening of primary healthcare, recognizing it as the cornerstone of a nation’s healthcare infrastructure. This revitalization is seen as the gateway to improving maternal and child health outcomes, nutrition, and immunization coverage.
“We stand ready to provide technical expertise, capacity building, and resources to help the commissioners revitalise and fortify your primary healthcare facilities.
“We support the vision of Prof. Pate to ensure that healthcare services are accessible, affordable, and equitable, reaching even the most remote and underserved communities,” Khan added.
This call for collaboration between federal and state authorities marks a significant step towards addressing Nigeria’s healthcare challenges and offers hope for improved health outcomes, especially for mothers and children.
UNICEF’s commitment to supporting these efforts underscores the importance of a united front in confronting the pressing health system crises in the country.