THE Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, on Monday, promised to reverse the trend of medical tourism, prioritise health security and improve the health outcomes in the country.
Pate made the promise in his address when he assumed office at the Federal Ministry of Health, after the swearing-in ceremony held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Pate called for a better synergy between the federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
“When you fly from Addis Ababa to India, you see a lot of people going for medical tourism; it is not a thing we should see as normal. We should do something about it and improve our health outcomes.
“Health security, coming out of the pandemic, is clear. Everybody thought health was a marginal sector, but COVID-19 answered it because it brought everybody to their knees economically. And so, taking public health and health security as very important, is something that all governments do and the President is keenly aware of that.
“It is important that we deal with the issues of governance to improve the governance of health. The federal, state and local governments, and other actors will work together on health policy and implementation.”
Pate noted that the economic value chain that exists in the health sector must be harnessed and every stakeholder has to be involved.
“The fact that he (President Bola Tinubu) included Social Welfare with health indicates he considers the people as the basis, the foundational element for what his administration tries to do. This is because the welfare of the people is linked to their health. Their health and well-being are interconnected right from gestation to childhood to adulthood to the elderly, and all across the life cycle.
“Of course, we need to grow our economy but we also need to attend to the people and health is an important component of that and I think that is one signal that is important.
“The president is the driver and we will follow and we will work hard to ensure that our driver takes us to the destination, and the vision that he has in transforming this country.”