Traditional and religious leaders in Nigeria came together for a 1-day policy dialogue, to demand a role in healthcare delivery as the solution to the poor state of Universal healthcare delivery in the country. Led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sultan Muhammdu Sa’ad Abubakar, MNI, CON, the traditional and religious leaders made this demand at a policy dialogue on “Funding Universal Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria: Integrating the perspectives of Traditional and Religious Institutions”, organized by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in collaboration with the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) under the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale) on Thursday, 24 October 2019.
The event was designed to collate the perspective of traditional and religious leaders on ways to improve healthcare delivery and how to achieve UHC in Nigeria as part of the course 41 of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute. According to the Sultan, for primary healthcare to make an impact and succeed in Nigeria, religious and traditional leaders should be carried along, as they are close to the grassroots and can easily mobilize their subjects and advise the government on how to address the myriad of health challenges of their subjects. He also pointed out that religious leaders and traditional rulers are in the best position to solve most of the problems associated with healthcare delivery in the country. “We should encourage the government to set up real healthcare centres. This will reduce medical tourism”, he said.
In his Welcome address at the occasion, the Director-General of the National Institute, Professor Habu Galadima, emphasized the purpose of the Policy Dialogue – an important platform – to get the perspectives of traditional and religious leaders on funding universal healthcare delivery in the country. Professor Galadima noted that the perspectives from the religious and traditional rulers will form part of recommendations that will be offered to government at the Annual Presidential Parley with Mr. President by Participants of the Senior Executive Course later in the year.
The Gbong Gwom Jos, HRM, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, CON, Chief Host of the event, also emphasized the essential role of traditional and religious leaders in the policy process, noting that the policy dialogue is an important forum for which NIPSS must be commended.
On his part, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, tasked participants of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 41 of NIPSS not to limit their research work to the cities, stressing that they should find time for the rural people and hear their plight as regards accessing primary healthcare in their locality.
The Policy Dialogue was attended by eminent traditional rulers and religious leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, mni, CON; the Gbong Gwom Jos, His Royal Majesty Da Jacob Gyang Buba, CON; the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli; and Emir of Shonga, Dr. Halitu Ndanusa Yahaya. Others were Emir of Uba, Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismail Mamza II; Reverend Samson Olasupo Ayokunle President of CAN (represented); and Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, Secretary-General of JNI.
Photos of traditional and religious leaders in the policy dialogue event organized by NIPSS-PAS