The Nigerian government has been advised to review strict dependence on budgetary provisions for the funding of primary health care centres.
This advice was given at a summit held in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, on Thursday. Duke Logistics and Consult Limited organised the summit in collaboration with the Africa Economic Islamic Foundation.
The summit was themed: “Islamic Finance: Exploring New Sources of Financing for Primary Health Care Transformation in Nigeria.”
In his opening remarks at the summit, the President of the African Islamic Economic Foundation, Baba Muhammad, said the summit represents “a significant milestone in the intersection of healthcare, technology, and faith-based financial principles in one of Africa’s most populous and diverse nations in its quest to improve healthcare access and quality.”
He said: “In recent years, we have witnessed remarkable advancements in technology that have transformed countless aspects of our lives, from e-commerce to communication and medicine, leading to limitless opportunities for Africa and other continents.”
Mr Muhammed said the summit is a digital transformation bridge that will close the gaps between healthcare providers and patients, allowing timely interventions and improved health outcomes.
Also speaking, the former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who chaired the summit, said investing in digital health technology through the instrument of Islamic financing will not only bridge the gaps in healthcare delivery in Nigeria but will improve access, reduce geographical barriers, enhance the quality of healthcare services, and seamlessly provide specialised healthcare for Nigerians regardless of their social status.
He said: “Islamic finance, with its principles of fairness and social responsibility, can play a significant role in supporting the adoption and implementation of digital health technology in Nigeria.”
He described the summit as a platform to explore how Islamic financing and digital health technology can intersect and drive Nigeria’s primary healthcare transformation agenda.
While supporting the need for Nigeria to review its dependence on budget as the only source of healthcare financing, another participant, Stanley Ukpai, called on relevant authorities to find alternative funding sources to diversify its domestic funding sources to finance health.
He said: “This summit is an innovative alternative to provide Nigeria with the link between new sources of funds and digital healthcare opportunities that can transform Nigeria’s healthcare delivery, especially as the country will witness the highest budgetary allocation to health of 8 per cent in 2024.
“This is a great opportunity for all hands to be on deck to ensure adequate funding for the sector.”
Meanwhile, a senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Ahmad Dogawara, noted that adequate funding of the healthcare system will lead to the survival of the people and increase economic growth and sustainability of the healthcare system.
Mr Dogarawa noted that the advocacy for an innovative funding mechanism such as Islamic finance can potentially support the government and corporate organisations’ efforts towards providing health for all.
“Models can be built on a commercial basis like crowdfunding and Islamic financing which makes us believe that Islamic finance will play a significant role in providing adequate funding to the healthcare sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3 in particular, which talks about health and well-being,” he said.
He said Islamic financing is meant for all, and not just for Muslims.
“For example, some states in the South-east have benefited from the Islamic Development Banks through the federal government.”
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